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Current Affairs

Windrush immigration scandal

Date: 03 June 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The UK’s Home Ministry report, which has given more details of the Windrush scandal, was recently leaked.

 

Background

The windrush scandal was said to be racially motivated and attributed to immigration legislation from 1950 to 1981.

 

Details

  • ‘Windrush’ was derived from a ship called the ‘Windrush Empire’ on which the first group of nearly 500 Commonwealth citizens arrived in the UK.

  • Those people who were invited to Britain from Caribbean nations (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados) between 1948 and 1971 were termed Windrush generation.

  • They were invited to plug the labour shortage and rebuild the country after the destruction of World War II.

  • Most of them arrived as small children, without any passport. After passing of Immigration Act of 1971, the windrush immigration stopped.

  • The act allowed commonwealth citizens present in country indefinite leave to remain, but any foreign-born British passport holder post the passage of the Act would need to possess a work permit or proof.

 

The scandal

  • The scandal came into light after media started covering individuals belonging to the Windrush generation, who were wrongly being accused as illegal immigrants.

  • Such individuals were being asked to provide proof of settlement and evidence of their lives in Britain even after staying in UK for 5-6 decades.

  • Many were facing threat of deportation, while others were detained, employment denied and healthcare not provided.

 

The backdrop

  • In 2012, as Home Secretary, Theresa May had vowed to weed out illegal immigration to UK, particularly those belonging to Commonwealth countries.

  • The Immigration Act during that time empowered officials and even private service providers to determine whether their client was an illegal immigrant and consequently deny them services.

  • Many documents related to Windrush generation were destroyed in 2010. This prevented Windrush generation from proving their identity.

 

Government response

After the scandal broke out, the government announced enquiry and gave British citizenship and compensation to those belonging to the generation.