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The Home Office has revealed that more than 5,000 people have now been identified as potential Windrush cases but will have no right to appeal if they get rejected under the scheme.
A task force that has been set up in the wake of the scandal has taken over 13,000 calls so far, with 5,000 being identified as potential cases and more than 850 now being given documentation following an appointment with the team.
However, guidance that was issued as part of a package of measures which was designed to process citizenship applications for Commonwealth nationals that settled in the UK before 1973, Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, announced that those rejected under the scheme “will not attract a right of appeal or an administrative review”.
Labour MP and chairperson of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Yvette Cooper said “I’m extremely concerned they rule out any appeals or reviews of Windrush decisions.
Given the history of this, how can anyone trust Home Office not to make further mistakes? If the home secretary is confident that senior caseworkers will be making good decisions in the Windrush case, he has nothing to fear about appeals and reviews”.
This comes just after Mr Javid revealed there were 63 cases of Caribbean nationals who may have been removed from the country, even though they had lived in the UK legally for decades.
The home secretary said that free citizenship applications for children of the Windrush generation that joined their parents before they turned 18, and free confirmation of existing British citizenship for the children who were born to the Windrush generation in the UK would now begin.
Those applying for citizenship under the scheme would have to meet the character requirements that are in place for all citizenship applications, but they would not need to take the knowledge of language and life in the UK test or attend the citizenship ceremony.
Mr Javid said that the scheme covered the government’s commitment in helping members of the Windrush generation who are now looking to return to the UK after spending many years back in their home countries, and these people are able to apply for the relevant documentation free of charge.
He also confirmed that any non-Commonwealth citizens who settled in the UK before 1973, and people who had arrived between 1973 and 1988 and have an existing right to be in the UK do not need to pay for the documentation they need to prove their indefinite leave to remain.
Mr Javid said “I am clear that we need to make the process for people to confirm their right to be in the UK or put their British citizenship on a legal footing as easy as possible. That is why I have launched a dedicated scheme which brings together our rights, obligations and offers to these people in one place”.
The Windrush scandal has seen people that arrived in the UK from the Caribbean between the late 1940s and early 1970s targeted by immigration officials, even though they have every right to be in the country.
Some have lost their homes and jobs for failing to have the right paperwork, and there have also been stories of people being denied vital medical treatment and being targeted for deportation.