Indians have emerged as the third-largest group affected by the United Kingdom’s ‘Windrush’ immigration scandal involving Commonwealth nationals being wrongly denied their citizenship rights in Britain.
The ‘Windrush’ scandal is an immigration scandal concerning people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation and in many cases wrongly deported from the UK by the authorities.
The group referred to as the ‘Windrush generation’ relates to a ship named ‘Windrush’, which brought Jamaican workers to UK shores in 1948.
“The ‘Windrush’ generation refers to citizens of former British colonies who arrived before 1973, when the rights of such Commonwealth citizens to live and work in Britain were substantially curtailed,” according to Rob McNeil, Deputy Director of the Migration Observatory.
“While a large proportion of them were of Jamaican or theCaribbean descent, they also included Indians and other South Asians,” McNeil said.
As many as 102 Indians were provided documentation to formalise their rights to live and work in the UK by an emergency ‘Taskforce’ set up to deal with cases of Commonwealth nationals who arrived in the UK before immigration rules became more stringent in 1973, according to the latest figures released by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid to Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) on Tuesday.
While the majority of the 2,272 migrants’ cases dealt with by the ‘Taskforce’ came from Caribbean countries Jamaica, with 1,093 and Barbados, 213. India at 102, came in third followed by Grenada with 88 and Trinidad and Tobago with 86, with 690 cases classed as “Others”.
Of the 102, a total of 69 Indians were granted their documentation under the ‘Windrush Scheme’, which ensures that members of this generation, their children born in the UK and those who arrived in the UK as minors are able to apply for citizenship free of charge.
“The experiences faced by some members of the ‘Windrush’ generation are completely unacceptable and I am committed to righting the wrongs of the past,” said Javid, who was born to Pakistani-origin parents in the UK.
He also committed to making a formal apology to 18 members of the ‘Windrush’ generation from the Caribbean, who it is believed could have been wrongfully removed or detained.
He said, “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 Home Office said that its evidence suggests 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 and were either detained or removed.
The scandal emerged as many who arrived as children around that period were struggling to access state services or even threatened with deportation because they did not possess any documents to prove they arrived in Britain before 1973.
In his letter dated August 21 to HASC Chair, Labour Member of Parliament Yvette Cooper, Javid highlights that the ‘Windrush’ cases expose problems which have happened over many years, under multiple governments and calls for a “cross party-approach” to ensure the wrongs which some members of the ‘Windrush’ generation have faced are put right.