WINDRUSH FACTSHEET (UK)
8 November 2018
• The Home Office values the contribution made to the UK by the Windrush generation and we are committed to do right by those affected.
• If you are a Commonwealth citizen who has lived in the UK for a long time and are worried about your immigration status, our dedicated team at the Home Office could help you.
Windrush Scheme
• We have launched a Windrush Scheme to make it easier for individuals to access support. You can download an application form to apply for the Windrush Scheme from gov.uk/windrush.
• If you need help with your application, or advice on eligibility, you can call our dedicated helpline on freephone 0800 678 1925. The line is open 7 days a week, or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
• If you are currently overseas, you can apply online at gov.uk/windrush. You can also email the commonwealth taskforce to arrange a call back.
• If required, you will be allocated a caseworker who will work with you to build a picture of your life in the UK. We will work with other government departments to find your records if helpful.
• There is no fee for an application under the Windrush Scheme.
• No information provided in relation to an application under the Windrush Scheme will be passed on to immigration enforcement.
• By the end of August, over 2,300 people have been helped by the Taskforce to get the documentation they need to prove their existing right to be in the UK under the initial arrangements put in place prior to the establishment of the Windrush Scheme.
• Of this over 2,100 people have successfully applied to become British nationals since the Windrush Scheme was established at the end of May.
Compensation scheme
• Together with independent advisor Martin Forde QC, we are working to put in place a compensation scheme for the Windrush generation and Commonwealth citizens, who have faced difficulties in establishing their lawful status under the immigration system.
• To get the compensation scheme right we need to listen; in July we launched consultation to ensure anyone who has been affected can have their say and help us shape the scheme. The consultation will close on 16 November.
• The final compensation scheme will be announced as soon as possible after the end of the consultation.
• Individuals can access the consultation document online; request an email or postal copy to be sent to them; or call the taskforce to complete it over the phone. Further information can be found at gov.uk/windrush.
• In the Caribbean, hard copies can also be collected from the High Commission or visa application centres.
Additional support
• We are delivering surgeries to offer individuals concerned about their status the opportunity to speak in confidence to Home Office staff, and request support to resolve their case.
• Further information can be found at gov.uk/windrush, where you can also sign up to stay informed about Home Office announcements relating to Windrush.
 
I’m a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before 1973 and have stayed here since; I’m unsure of my status or what I need to do. If you are a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before 1973 and have stayed to build a life here, you may already be a British citizen. If so we will give you a document confirming that. If you are not already British, you will be eligible to apply for citizenship. You will need to meet the residence requirements for citizenship and the good character requirement, but there will be no need for you to complete the normal Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test. If you do not want to apply for citizenship or do not qualify, we will consider whether you are entitled to remain and which route you are eligible for. You can find an outline of the routes and eligibility criteria at www.gov.uk/windrush.
I’m a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before 1973 but left the UK for longer than two years before returning to continue my life here; I’m unsure of my status or what I need to do. You can apply under the Windrush Scheme as you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain.
 
My parent is a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before 1973 and I have lived in the UK most of my life, but I am unclear of my status. Can you help me? Yes. It is possible you are already a British citizen and, if so, we will confirm that. If you are not already a British citizen you can apply under the Windrush scheme and we will consider which route you are eligible for. You can find an outline of the routes and eligibility criteria at www.gov.uk/windrush.
 
I’m a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK after 1973 but before the end of 1988, and I have lived in the UK ever since. Can you help me? We know there are people who settled legally in the UK after 1973 but before the end of 1988 and don’t have documents confirming their status. If you fall into this category we may be able to issue you with documents to confirm your right to live and work in the UK. This will be free of charge.
 
I’m not a Commonwealth citizen but I settled in the UK before 31 December 1988 and I am lawfully settled in the UK. Do I need to apply under this scheme? We know there are people who settled legally in the UK after 1973 but before the end of 1988 and don’t have documents confirming their status. If you fall into this category we may be able to issue you with documents to confirm your right to live and work in the UK. This will be free of charge.
 
What documents do I need to provide to prove my right to be in the UK? We will work with you to help demonstrate you have lived in the UK for a long time. We accept all sorts of documentation. We will also work with other government departments including Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to make sure we are doing all we can to help you get the documents you need. We do not need to see definitive proof of the date you entered the UK or to see four pieces of evidence for every year you have lived here.
 
How long will it take for me to get my status confirmed? You will be allocated a caseworker who will work with you to resolve your case. We aim to resolve cases as quickly as possible once all relevant information has been obtained but some complex cases may take longer.
 
Why are some applications taking so long to resolve? We aim to resolve all applications as soon as possible after all relevant information has been received. However some cases are particularly complex and require more time to consider fully. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. Each application is important and we need to ensure we are giving every case the time it needs.
 
How do I apply under the Windrush Scheme? You can call our taskforce, or download an application from gov.uk/windrush. Those overseas can apply online or email our taskforce and they will call back.
What are biometrics and why do I need to give them? Biometrics mean a photograph of your face and your fingerprints. This is a legal requirement for anyone applying for citizenship or leave to remain, unless you are exempt. There is no fee for this.
 
Why do biometric residence permits have an expiry date? This is the date your leave to remain expires (if it is a limited leave to remain) or in those cases where you have been given permission to settle in the UK (known as indefinite leave to remain) it is simply the date by which it needs to be renewed, like a passport.
What is a good character test and why do I need to meet it? Before anyone can be granted British citizenship we need to be satisfied that they are of good character, including considering any criminal convictions.
 
Will immigration enforcement action be taken against me by getting in touch with the taskforce? No. No information provided in relation to an application under the Windrush Scheme will be passed on to immigration enforcement.
 
Will I get a free passport? The Windrush Scheme does not cover applications for a British passport. British citizens must pay for a passport and it would not be fair to existing British citizens to provide a free passport to those applying for British citizenship under the Windrush Scheme.
What counts as a Commonwealth country under this scheme? There is a list available through www.gov.uk/windrush
 
Who will be eligible for compensation and how much compensation will people receive? We have not decided any details of the scheme. Responses to the compensation consultation will inform the final scheme.
When will the scheme be in place? We will be announcing details of the final compensation scheme and how to apply as soon as possible after the public consultation has ended.
 
Is there a hardship fund for those who are currently struggling following losses as a result of not being able to prove their status? The first priority is to help people establish their immigration status through the Windrush taskforce, to alleviate any barriers they are facing in connection with their immigration status. In addition, the Home Secretary has announced that a framework will be developed to consider whether individual payments may be needed ahead of the compensation scheme in urgent and exceptional cases.
 
What additional support is available for vulnerable individuals who are struggling? A dedicated team for vulnerable people has been set up within the Windrush Taskforce, it has already assisted over 450 people where an urgent need for support or advice was identified. In addition, a “Fast-Track” service with the Department for Work and Pensions has been established to arrange access to benefits; steps to secure accommodation with local authorities for those identified as homeless; and interim guidance to employers and landlords. An agreement with Citizens Advice has also been put in place to provide bespoke professional advice to anyone experiencing immediate financial problems.
 
What is the Lessons Learned review? The Home Secretary commissioned a Lessons Learned review into the events leading up to Windrush. It is internal, with independent oversight provided by Wendy Williams. The call for evidence for the review closed on 19 October 2018.