The Home Office made repeated errors that caused a man from Manchester who had lived in the UK for more than 50 years to be classified as an illegal immigrant and threatened with arrest, prison and forcible removal, the parliamentary ombudsman has found.
Rupert Everett's daughters Belinda and Fiona Everett
The latest critical official report on the department's handling of the Windrush scandal detailed how former HGV driver Rupert Everett died in 2019, aged 74, without having received an apology or compensation from the government.
His daughters said he was distressed to have his passport confiscated by immigration officials in 2016, and was terrified at the prospect of being forcibly returned to Jamaica, a country he had visited only twice since leaving in 1962, aged 19.
Daughter Belinda Everett said:
Mr Everett's other daughter Fiona says she had faith in the system it would all be sorted out.
She said: "I thought, just turn up, give them all your documents, you'll be fine, they'll sort it all out, you've got the right to be here.
"Show them your National Insurance number, show them your passport, everything will be fine.
"Turns out failing after failing, it wasn't."
The Windrush scandal saw the government apologise for deportation threats made to Commonwealth citizens and their children.
Some 500,000 people were caught up in the scandal.
Sukhdeep Singh, s caseworker at the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, who has helped more than 40 Windrush victims, said this was one of the worst cases he had encountered because Mr Everett had clear documentary proof of his right to be in the UK, but officials ignored the evidence.
The damning report into the Home Office's treatment of Mr Everett found:
Mr Everett should never have been told he had no status in the UK
There were missed opportunities to put things right
Failure to share relevant documents internally prolonged procedures
Mr Everett was asked to provide more evidence than required
Ombudsman Rob Behrens, was asked to investigate the case after attempts to complain through the official complaints mechanism failed.
In a statement, the Home Office told us:
"We know it is actions, not words, that make a difference which is why we are taking action to help those who suffered such terrible injustices and have begun unprecedented programme of change to build a Home Office which supports every part of the communities it serves.
"Under the Windrush Scheme, we have provided documentation to over 13,000 people confirming their status or British citizenship free of charge and through the Windrush Compensation Scheme have offered almost £30 million, of which more than £20.4million has been paid."