Windrush: Hundreds granted citizenship under Government scheme

More than 500 people have been granted British citizenship under a Government scheme launched in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid also disclosed that more than 2,000 individuals have now been issued with documentation confirming their right to be in the UK.

But Labour MP Yvette Cooper said it was “very disappointing” that the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which she chairs, has still not been provided with information about the number of people wrongly detained, and that the Home Office has yet to make contact with the majority of those who may have been incorrectly removed or deported.

Ministers faced a furious backlash over the treatment of the Windrush generation, named after a ship that brought migrants to Britain from the Caribbean in 1948.

Commonwealth citizens who arrived before 1973 were automatically granted indefinite leave to remain under the 1971 Immigration Act.

While many of those who arrived have taken British citizenship or have official documents confirming their status, others have struggled to produce paperwork demonstrating they are lawfully resident.

People who have been living legally in the UK for decades have lost their jobs, been denied access to NHS treatment, benefits and pensions, had their driving licences withdrawn and been warned they face deportation.

In the wake of the revelations, the British Government offered free citizenship applications for Commonwealth citizens who arrived before 1973 and children who joined their parents before turning 18.

Last month 584 individuals were recorded as having been granted citizenship through the scheme, which came into force at the end of May.

The UK Home Office also established a dedicated Windrush taskforce to help those affected.

As of the end of June, 2,125 people had been issued with documentation confirming their status.

Following fears long-term residents may have been forced to leave, officials examined around 8,000 removal records.

They found 63 cases where there was an indication that the individual could have been in the UK prior to 1973.

Of those, 32 related to deportation of foreign national offenders (FNOs), while 31 were “administrative” removals.

In a letter to Ms Cooper, Mr Javid said: “As I have already explained to the committee, I have instructed officials in the Taskforce to try and make contact, where possible, with the 31 people who had been administratively removed.

“Of these 14 are now in discussion with the taskforce. We continue to work with relevant Caribbean governments to obtain contact details where we do not have them and I am grateful for the assistance they have been providing.”

The UK Home Secretary said he has asked officials to distinguish the administrative cases from FNOs as those in the latter group have gone through a deportation process in which they would have had an opportunity to appeal.

- Press Association

 

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