Beginning today, the Home Office has introduced the ‘Windrush Scheme’ in order to provide help and support to those affected by the Windrush scandal and their children. The scheme will enable those who arrived in the UK before January 1973 to obtain British citizenship or proof of the right to live permanently in the UK.
From 1948 to 1971, Commonwealth citizens were legally allowed to migrate to the UK and given indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Many individuals never received any official paperwork confirming their ILR status and suddenly found themselves facing deportation, being refused public healthcare and being refused the right to work.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd formally apologised and the Windrush scandal, amongst increased public knowledge of other Home Office failings and claims of a ‘hostile environment policy’, ultimately led to Amber Rudd’s resignation as Home Secretary.
The Home Office has now created the Windrush Scheme in order to provide help and support to those affected and to enable those who arrived in the UK before January 1973 to obtain British citizenship or proof of the right to live permanently in the UK. As opposed to usual citizenship or permanent residency applications, those concerned are not required to pay an application fee.
As applicants will have lived in the UK for several decades, those who would like British citizenship are assumed to have sufficient knowledge of English and of life in the UK and are therefore not required to take the Life in the UK test or to attend a citizenship ceremony. The applicant will however need to meet the residence requirements for citizenship and the good character requirement.
Under the Windrush Scheme, children of those who arrived in the UK from Commonwealth countries before 1973 can also apply for British citizenship or proof of the right to live permanently in the UK, provided that the child was born in the UK or was under 18 upon arrival and has been continuously resident in the UK since their arrival.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in handling a range of immigration matters for 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.