A recent update on this topic can be found here.
The SS Empire Windrush arrived in the UK in 1948 carrying nearly 500 passengers from commonwealth countries in the Caribbean. This marked the beginning of post-war mass migration, which saw an estimated 500,000 people migrate to the UK from Commonwealth countries between 1948 and 1971. They became known as the ‘Windrush generation’.
The 1971 Immigration Act put a stop to free movement between Commonwealth countries and the UK. Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already residing in the UK were automatically granted indefinite leave to remain. However, many individuals who were granted Indefinite Leave to Remain pursuant to these rules did not receive any official paperwork and now find themselves, over 40 years later, unable to prove when they arrived in the UK. Some were just children at the time and entered the UK on their parents' passports and do not have a record of their arrival.
Recently in several cases the Home Office has threatened these individuals with deportation, unless they can provide proof of when they arrived in the UK and their entitlement to remain. These documents can be extremely difficult to obtain and often do not exist at all. Added to this administrative burden is the extreme pressure and distress placed on individuals lawfully present in the UK, who are being told that they have to leave the country in which they have spent most, if not all, of their lives.
Critics have highlighted the fact that the burden of proof for residence is significantly higher for individuals residing in the UK under the UK Immigration Rules than those residing in the UK under European immigration regulations. Critics are calling for the Home Office to lower the burden of proof for people in the ‘Windrush generation’. To date the Home Office has refused to do so, although it has made statements confirming that they “have no intention of making people leave who have the right to remain here”.
The Home Office has advised any individuals that may be affected to “take legal advice and submit the appropriate application with correct evidence so [they] can progress the case”.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in handling the immigration matters of both individuals and corporations. Should you wish to discuss your immigration matters please contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.