A public event will be held in Thornton Heath this Saturday, for residents affected by the Windrush scandal.
The scandal, which came to light in 2018, involved UK citizens being denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and, in extreme cases, wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office. Many of those affected had been born in British commonwealth countries and had arrived in the UK before 1973.
The name comes from the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought one of the first groups of West Indian migrants to the UK in 1948.
The event is one of a series across the UK being held by the Home Office. The aim of these events is to inform people of the Windrush Compensation Scheme, providing financial compensation to those affected by the scandal.
Those who arrived from Commonwealth countries before 1 January 1973 are eligible to claim. The scheme also offers compensation to those who have a right of abode or settled status (or are now a British citizen) and arrived to live in the UK before 31 December 1988.
The session will provide information on eligibility for compensation, what impacts and losses are covered by the scheme and how to apply and will be held in conjunction with charities and recognised community groups. The Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation (CACFO) UK is involved in the scheme.
The charity is chaired by Councillor Callton Young, who is working with Windrush Action to secure compensation for Windrush victims.
Councillor Young said: “Hosting the Home Office event in Thornton Heath ward is particularly important because the area is home to the largest number of West Indians of any ward in London and therefore, potential interest in the Windrush Compensation Scheme is likely to be high.”
Members of the government-appointed Windrush Taskforce, which was set up to help those affected by the Windrush Scandal, will be on hand to answer any questions attendees may have.
In April, MP for Croydon Central Sarah Jones revealed that all constituents she had worked with who were victims of the scandal involving lost immigration papers have been given indefinite leave to remain.
Ms Jones, however, has criticised the time taken to release details of the scheme. She said: “What happened to the Windrush generation – people who helped make the UK what it is today – must never happen again. I’m delighted that all my constituents affected by the Windrush scandal are rightfully able to stay here and claim the benefits of UK citizenship – as they should have been able to all along.
“The fight isn’t over yet. The Windrush compensation scheme has taken far too long to be released and I support the calls to abolish the £10,000 cap on compensation”.
She added:”Some of my constituents have known years of hardship due to this scandal and they deserve to be properly compensated.”
According to a report by The Guardian, about 12,000 migrants are forcibly removed from the UK each year, with a further 20,000 removed through the voluntary returns route.
Approximately 2,000 of those forcibly removed are put on planes privately chartered by the Home Office.
In July it was revealed that the Home Office had spent a quarter of a million pounds chartering flights to deport people over a three month period. Not a single plane left the runway during that period.
more than 80 charted flights took off between October 2016 and May 2018.
The Government has used charter flights regularly since 2001, removing people to countries including Albania, Ghana, Nigeria and Pakistan. After a pause following the Windrush scandal, charter flights to Jamaica controversially resumed in February 2019.
Event Information: Saturday 14 September at CACFO UK, 40 Northwood Road between 11 am and 1 pm.
Anyone unable to make the event can contact the Home Office’s dedicated helpline on 0800 678 1925 or email WindrushCompensationScheme@homeoffice.gov.uk Alternatively find out more at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme.