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Home Secretary apologises to members of the Windrush generation

The Home Secretary is to provide a formal apology to 18 members of the Windrush generation who it is believed could have been wrongfully removed or detained.

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The 18 people were identified during a detailed review of removals, detentions and compliant environment measures affecting Caribbean nationals. Evidence suggests that the 18 people came to the UK from the Caribbean before 1973 and stayed here permanently but were unable to demonstrate their continuous residence here. 11 of the 18 went on to voluntarily leave the country while the remaining 7 were detained but subsequently released without being removed. Of these 18, 4 were removed and 2 detained before May 2010 and 7 were removed and 5 detained after May 2010.

The Home Office has already been in contact with 14 of the 18 people and will continue its efforts to reach out to the remaining 4 people to put them in contact with the taskforce. Any who are not in the UK will be given the option to return, with support from the taskforce if needed. They will also be guided to the compensation scheme once it has been established. The scheme will be open to those who have suffered loss or difficulty as a result of not being able to prove their status in the UK.

The commitment was made in a letter from the Home Secretary to the Home Affairs Select Committee providing an update on the support that has been provided through the Windrush Scheme and the progress of the historical reviews being carried out into detention, removals and compliant environment measures.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

The experiences faced by some members of the Windrush generation are completely unacceptable and I am committed to righting the wrongs of the past.

I would like to personally apologise to those identified in our review and am committed to providing them with the support and compensation they deserve.

We must do everything we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again – which is why I have asked an independent adviser to look at what lessons we can learn from Windrush.

The ongoing review, which has looked at 11,800 historical detention and removal cases of non-foreign national offenders also identified 74 people who it would appear were either detained or removed because they had lost their entitlement to indefinite leave to remain after leaving the UK for more than 2 years. A further 72 people were detained temporarily at port but allowed to enter. All people who have been identified by the review will be put in contact with the taskforce and signposted to the compensation scheme.

These cases of removal and detention have happened over many years, with cases spread roughly equally between 2002 to 2010, and from 2010 onwards.

In addition, the letter to the committee provides an update on the numbers of people who have been supported by the taskforce. It reveals that 2,272 people were helped to get the documentation they need to prove their existing right to be in the UK under the initial arrangements put in place prior to the establishment of the Windrush scheme. It also confirms 1,465 people have been granted citizenship or documentation to prove their status under the formal Windrush Scheme.

Published 21 August 2018