Please note, we have now a direct referral route to the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) and Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA).
This information was first published on 30 April 2018. It has been updated on 26th May and 1st June. The following is the latest update from 31st July 2018.
The home office have now set up a new procedure for obtaining a permanent status card and British nationality. This came into effect on the 30thMay 2018 and replaces the previous procedure (which was to phone them and obtain an appointment).
You now have to make an application on a form, the information and from being available here.
The phone number 0800 678 1925 is still available if you have any questions or need help in filling the form.
The line is open Monday to Saturday between 9am and 5pm and Sunday between 10am and 4pm.
The application is still free of charge and the form has to be sent to:
UK Visas and Immigration
The form is dealt with by a special ‘windrush taskforce’ team who will contact you once the application is looked at.
It is currently taking about 2 months for the application to be processed. Our experience has been that a letter is sent out a couple of weeks after the application goes in, asking the applicant to go to one of the post offices in the centre of Manchester to have their fingerprints and photo taken and have their eyes scanned. They charge £19.20 for this. It then takes about 4 weeks for the application to be considered.
The people affected by this are:
1) Any commonwealth citizen who came to the UK before 1/1/73 and has been living in the UK continuously since arrival.
2) Any wife and child of a commonwealth citizen who was here before the 1/1/1973. The wife or child must have come in (or made an application to come here) before the 1/8/1988 and must also have lived here continuously since arrival.
‘Continuously’ means not having been abroad for more than 2 years at any one time.
The Home office have also added 2 new categories
3) A Commonwealth citizen who was settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 whose left the UK for over 2 years, but returned and are in the UK legally and have close and continuing ties with the UK.
4) A person of any nationality, who arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988 and is lawfully settled in the UK.
The documents you need are:
- Proof that you were here before 1/1/73 or 1/8/88 (depending on which category you fall into).
- Further documents to show that you have been in the UK since arrival.
The Home office have said that the information provided in not going to be sent to their ‘removals’ team.
The government has said that it will compensate those ‘who have suffered loss’.
As the first stage of the compensation process they are carrying out a consultation and have asked people (and organisations) to email them on Windrushcompensation@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk or write to them at:
Windrush Compensation Scheme Team
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
The deadline for the responses is 11.59pm on 8 June 2018 and they want thoughts on the following questions.
- Please can you tell us something about your personal background and what went wrong for you?
- How did that affect you, both in practical terms and more generally?
- When did you first know there was a problem?
- What kinds of losses did you experience, as a direct or indirect result of the problems you encountered?
- What do you think we need to do, in terms of a compensation scheme, to put it right?
It is important for people to respond to this and, in particular, outline the indirect problems that they have had because of their fear that they have no status. For example, people affected have often been told by travel agents not to leave the UK because of the possibility of not being allowed back. It is important for the government to be aware of the distress this has caused individuals.
The consultation paper is available on here.
The home office have now analysed the responses to the Windrush Compensation scheme
This is available on: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/windrush-compensation-scheme
They have set out what they think are the most important issues and how they intend to compensate those affected by the windrush scandal. They have also asked people to respond to them by 12:00pm on Thursday 11 October 2018 to let them know, essentially, if people agree or disagree with their proposals. There is very little scope within this new response process to substantially comment on the limitations of the home office view.
The response can be sent in:
online at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/windrushcompensation-scheme
by email at the following e-mail address: Windrushcompensation@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
or by post to: Freepost WINDRUSH COMPENSATION CONSULTATION
The Home Office analysis of the response to the initial compensation consultation is as follows:
- They say that they received evidence from 650 people and organisations with the following being raised as the most important issues;
- Emotional Distress due to an inability to confirm their immigration status was reported by 68% of responses. Over a quarter of responses that referred to an impact mentioned a detrimental effect on family life;
- Direct costs related to confirming immigration status was mentioned by 62% of responses. Most commonly this referred to the fees from unsuccessful applications to Home Office;
- Loss of income was reported by 62% of responses, referencing barriers to employment and/or access to benefits;
- An inability to travel was referred to by 26% of responses, which commonly related to being unable to leave the country through fear of denial of re-entry;
- Difficulties accessing public services was mentioned by 24% of responses;
- Housing and NHS services were mentioned most commonly (16% and 7% of responses referring to an impact, respectively);
- Difficulties accessing infrastructure, such as bank accounts and driving licences, was reported by 8% of responses;
- Detention and/or removal was reported by 7% of responses.
They say that they will only compensate people for previous unsuccessful applications for status and not for those that were previously successful. They will consider paying for legal costs that were paid for a previously unsuccessful immigration applications as long as they are ‘not excessive or disproportionate’. They will not pay for legal costs incurred in applying to the compensation scheme even though they acknowledge that one of the strong themes that emerged from people’s response was that ‘Legal assistance should be offered to all claimants to enable them to make the correct compensation claims’.
They will not pay for passports for those who have been granted nationality via the Windrush scheme.
They will ‘address’ losses arising directly from problems accessing employment, or losing employment, as a result of immigration status but do not directly say that these will be paid. They are not convinced that those people who lost out on jobs because they were not able to prove that they had lawful status should be included in the compensation scheme because such a loss would be ‘difficult to evidence’. They have offered instead of financial compensation an appropriate alternative remedy from a ‘sincere apology’ to ‘arranging ongoing support in the form of counselling where people think this would be of benefit’ and exploring ‘reinstating employment, where possible and appropriate’
They will pay those who have been denied benefits and have said that whilst ‘detention or removal by the immigration authorities did not appear as a strong theme from the responses’ these should be considered for compensation.
They say that they will consider compensation for those who have suffered emotional distress but will demand a proportionate level of evidence if the claim is high. They have not quantified what they assess as a high level of claim as their response avoids any financial commitments. But they do note that ‘It is important to ensure that no individual receives a disproportionately high payment from the public purse’ despite having stated previously that the compensation scheme will not be limited by the amount of money it will cost.
They also specifically state that:
“We propose to place a cap or maximum amount which can be paid under the scheme in order to ensure that the payments made under the scheme can be distributed fairly across eligible claimants. Whilst we do not yet know the administrative costs of processing claims (as the final scheme has not yet been agreed), we also propose in principle to establish a minimum size of claim so as to avoid significant administrative expenditure being incurred to process low value claims. We believe that both these measures would help to avoid any excessively high payments and protect the taxpayer from processing very low value claims.”
So they will be a setting a minimum level of compensation and a maximum level and are clearly worried about how much this is all likely to cost.
If you need further help:
Contact Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU)
Phone 0161 7407722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries about representation.