The Windrush scandal is relevant to private sector landlords as by law they must carry out “Right to Rent” checks on prospective tenants. At the time the Right to Rent checks were introduced a number of campaigning groups warned that it would encourage discrimination. The Windrush scandal has highlighted how the system has failed. (Read more about the impact of the Right to Rent checks here).
An article in the Guardian on 25 May 2018 outlines some key facts about the Wndrush scandal:
Theresa May’s “hostile environment” policies introduced when she was home secretary require that employers, NHS staff, private landlords and other bodies demand evidence of people’s citizenship or immigration status.
Members of the Windrush generation, who arrived in the UK from 1948 onwards, as well as their children, have been wrongly targeted by these policies. There are people who have been forced out of work, in some cases for years, and unable to claim welfare support, as well as individuals who have been wrongfully detained and in some cases deported. 63 cases are being fully investigated as part of efforts to check whether anyone was wrongly removed or deported as a result of the way policies have been implemented. Lawyers have begun preparing group compensation claims.
Hugh Ind, the director general of immigration enforcement, has left the Home Office to go to the Cabinet Office. He had been one of the officials questioned by the home affairs committee over Windrush and removal targets.
Amber Rudd, the then home secretary, had told the committee that there were no targets for deportation. She later resigned when leaked letters suggested she knew that there were.
Over 5000 potential Windrush cases have been reported to the Home Office.
There have been 13,000 calls to a specialist unit set up within the Home Office last month.
More than 850 people now have documentation following an appointment with the dedicated team.
The current Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced on Thursday 24 May 2018 that legislation had been introduced to bring into force a package of measures designed to help end the crisis.
The scheme includes the waiving of fees for citizenship applications for Commonwealth nationals who settled in the UK before 1973 and children of the Windrush generation who joined their parents before they turned 18. Applicants will need to meet the good character requirements in place for any citizenship application but will not need to take a “knowledge of language and life in the UK” test or attend a citizenship ceremony.
Members of the Windrush group who have left the UK but are seeking to return will be able to apply for relevant documentation without charge.
More details about the 63 cases under investigation can be found here.