Windrush Day 2021: Scandal still being felt for some people in the North West

Windrush Day is a day to celebrate the Caribbean culture and those who came over 73 years ago today to help rebuild post-war Britain.

The event was established in 2018 in the wake the Windrush scandal when many of those invited to Britain suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of immigration laws that, unbeknown to them, had changed.

For many of the Windrush Generation and their decendents, the aftermath of the Windrush Scandal is still being felt - long delays for compensation coupled with a documentation application scheme that campaigners say is not fit for purpose.

Three lawyers from Manchester are working in their own time, to try to secure citizenship status and compensation for those caught scandal.

The lawyers work voluntarily.

The team are currently helping 135 people in Manchester alone - liaising with the Home Office on their behalf, finding often scarce records proving their right to be here. And they do all that around other jobs.

  • Anthony Brown has applied for a judicial review of the government's schemes to issue the correct identity documents and compensation. He says neither work as they should.

In a statement, the Home Office said:

"We are determined to put right the terrible injustices faced by the Windrush generation by successive governments and have provided documentation to over 13,000, including over 6,900 grants of British citizenship, under the Windrush Scheme.

"The Home Secretary also overhauled the Compensation Scheme last year and these changes are working, with nearly £30m now paid or offered. But there is more to do, which is why we continue to work hard to ensure payments are made faster."

Who are the Windrush generation?

HMT Windrush brought the first post-war migrants from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands, then British colonies, to the UK in 1948.

There were just over 1,000 passengers on board that first sailing.

Ex-troopship HMT 'Empire Windrush'. Credit: PA

Over a 23-year period, an estimated half a million people made the 8,000 mile journey from Caribbean islands, encouraged to the UK to help rebuild a Britain battered by war.

What was the Windrush Scandal?

Adult Windrush immigrants from the 1960s and early 1970s were usually given permanent right to reside stamps when they arrived on UK shores.

The 1971 Immigration Act confirmed that the Windrush generation had, and have, the right to live in the UK.

But they were not given any documents to demonstrate their status and the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain.

In the decades since the Windrush generation had arrived in Britain, immigration law had changed as successive governments sought to get tough on border control.

Immigration law in the UK now require people to have documentation to work, rent a property or access benefits and NHS services, which left many of this generation in a perilous situation.

People with a right to live in the UK found themselves with no papers and no rights.

As a result, some lost their jobs, their homes, and, according to a report into the scandal published earlier last year, “their sense of identity and wellbeing”.

The Home Office acknowledge people may not feel comfortable contacting them. They have arranged outreach events, hired extra caseworkers to speed-up the process and point out that applying for citizenship is free.

Decades after so many people came to Britain to help rebuild it, to make it better - the wrongs done to them still haven't been put right. Those working to do so, want a quicker resolution.