UK to pay compensation to victims of Windrush scandal
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid has announced that the UK will pay up to £200 million in compensation to victims of the Windrush scandal. A fund has been established to cover these compensation payments to those who were mistakenly classed as illegal immigrants despite being long-standing British citizens. The compensation will serve, in some small way to right the wrongs that victims of the Windrush generation have been subjected to. At the very least, it will recompense victims for the financial hardships that many have faced through being unable to work in the UK or access healthcare whilst classed as an illegal immigrant.
The announcement comes a year after the Government admitted that they had treated the Windrush generation appallingly and that as a result UK immigration laws would be reviewed. The fund will serve to offer compensation to anyone who has been affected by the ‘hostile environment’ attitude towards immigration and so anyone who has been classed as an illegal immigrant incorrectly since 1988 will be eligible to apply according to the rules of the scheme. It is not known how many people this will affect and Javid has announced that there is no cap on the total amount of compensation offered.
Many of those affected by the scandal are concerned that applications for compensation might be complicated, much like proving their status was. Javid has sought to reassure these people by confirming that the barrister, Martin Forde QC, who designed the scheme had worked hard to make it easy to understand. He also advised that those applying under the scheme would not be required to sign non-disclosure agreements nor should they worry about their details being passed on to any their government authority if they call the hotline.
Many charities and goodwill organisations have confirmed that they are pleased that something is starting to happen by way of righting the wrongs that have been caused by the ‘hostile environment’ policy. Many are worried, however, by the number of forms that will need completing and are concerned that those affected might not be able to provide the required evidence. Many also say that they are not seeing changes within the Home Office itself and wonder if people could still be falling foul of the system.