From 1948 to 1971, Commonwealth citizens from countries such as Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago were invited to migrate to the UK and given Indefinite Leave to Remain. Many never received official paper work to confirm their status within the UK, however, and these individuals became known as the Windrush Generation.
The Windrush scandal saw the Home Office wrongfully deport long-term residents of the UK back to countries that they had left as children. This raised questions as to whether it was ethically right to deport an individual who had spent their ‘formative years’ in the UK.
MPs have argued that the immigration policies used against the individuals of the Windrush generation created a hostile environment and were representative of institutional racism – discriminating against individuals on the basis of their ethnic background.
In light of this the Home Office commissioned a ‘Windrush lessons learned review’, the aim of which was to provide an independent assessment of the events that led to the Windrush scandal whilst seeking to establish lessons that could be learned and implemented by the Home Office.
The review was headed by Wendy Williams, an inspector with her Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). During the review, Ms Williams and a small team considered the following:
- Key themes and factors that arose during the handling of individual cases;
- Key events over the last 10 years that led up to the Windrush scandal;
- The experience of those impacted by the events of the Windrush scandal; and
- (Most importantly) the immigration policies and legislation which ultimately lead to the mass deportation of the Windrush generation.
In an article posted in the Guardian on 10 February 2020 David Lammy, MP of Tottenham, confirmed that he had leaked information from the review in an effort to highlight that whilst recommendations had been made by the independent review, those recommendations had been intentionally ignored. He argued that in anticipation of the official release of the review “There should be no more deportation flights until the ‘Windrush Lessons Learned review’ is published and its recommendations implemented”.
It should be noted that the Windrush Scheme was introduced by the Home Office in 2018 in order to provide help and support to those affected by the Windrush scandal. Under the scheme Commonwealth citizens and their children can apply to obtain documentation confirming their status in the UK and apply for British citizenship free of charge.
Whilst this is seen as a move in the right direction it is arguable that it may have been ‘too little too late’ as many were deported prior to the Windrush Scheme’s introduction. Many await the official release of the ‘Windrush Lessons Learned review,’ to see what went wrong and what changes will ultimately be implemented by the Home Office in order to resolve the problems that have affected so many people’s lives.
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.
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