In an update to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Home Secretary Sajid Javid stated that 2,121 people have successfully applied to become British nationals since the Windrush scheme was established at the end of May. 2,398 people have also been able to secure documentation confirming their right to be in the UK through the taskforce and a further 156 people through the Windrush scheme application process.
Mr Javid also confirmed that the Windrush taskforce is to begin the process of refusing cases which, after careful consideration, have been found not to be eligible for documentation or citizenship through the scheme.
The first refusals will be issued to people in the UK who, though they have the right to remain in the UK, have been found not to qualify for citizenship because serious criminality has led to them failing to meet the necessary good character requirement. People in this category include people with convictions for murder, child sex offences, the supply of drugs, and robbery.
Refusals will also begin to be issued to those people who have applied for documentation from abroad, but have been found to be ineligible as they were not able to provide sufficient evidence that they were settled in the UK before 1 January 1973. These decisions have only been made after significant efforts by the taskforce to gather the evidence needed to support applications, taking on much of the burden of proof from the applicant and applying a generous interpretation of the evidence required to prove an individual’s status.
In the update, Mr Javid makes clear that these refusal decisions have only been taken after substantial assurance has taken place, and that individuals can request a free review of the decision if they disagree.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
The Windrush generation have helped build this country as they themselves have built a life here. I am appalled what some people have been through but am delighted that our taskforce is helping so many people to establish their right to be here and gain British citizenship.
We are doing all we can to gather the information needed to enable applications to be processed successfully and quickly. We are looking for reasons to grant rather than refuse but we need to ensure that only those who should be benefiting from this scheme are benefitting. All refusals have followed careful and deliberate consideration. No decision has been taken lightly and applicants will be able to have the refusal reviewed free of charge if they disagree.