Caroline Nokes, immigration minister in the Home Office, has made a “heartfelt apology” to members of the Windrush generation at an event in South London. Nokes, who admitted she felt “ashamed” of how the migrants had been treated by the Home Office, was at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton where several people told her their own personal experiences of the controversy earlier this year.
In a heated discussion, Ms Nokes and her accompanying officials heard examples of how legitimate Windrush migrants had become caught up in the Home Office’s hostile environment immigration policy. One woman explained how she had been evicted from her council housing because of a lack of clarity around her immigration status.
She said: “I have kids and grandkids here but the Home Office want to send me back. I’m going blind but I’m scared to see a doctor because of my issues with the Home Office.”
Government policy now requires the NHS, like other public authorities, to ask about service users immigration status and refuse to treat those who do not have the legal right to be in the UK.
Ms Nokes urged this woman, and others, to seek help from the Windrush Taskforce, set up by the Home Office to offer redress to those caught up in the scandal. Many Windrush migrants, however, are too scared to ask for help from the taskforce because it is part of the Home Office.
The Windrush Generation is a name used to describe an influx of thousands of migrants from the former British Empire who came to the UK in the aftermath of the second world war. The UK government of the time encouraged this immigration to provide a much-needed workforce and rebuild the country after the ravages of war. Unfortunately, changing attitudes to immigration and repeated errors made in government have left many of these migrants and their families unable to prove their UK immigration status.
If you are a member of the Windrush generation, or you have a family member who is concerned about their immigration status, we can help. Our specialist barristers will work with you to understand your UK immigration status and will contact the Home Office on your behalf to resolve any outstanding issues.