Sajid Javid apologises to 18 'wrongfully removed or detained' Windrush migrants

Posted On: 
21st August 2018

Sajid Javid has apologised to 18 Windrush migrants after a Government review found they may have been “wrongfully removed” from Britain or detained.

Some of those who arrived in the UK on HMT 'Empire Windrush' in 1948
PA Images

The Home Secretary revealed that 11 out of 18 people who came to the UK from the Caribbean before 1973 “voluntarily left” as a result of a lack of documents to prove their right to stay.

Meanwhile, the other seven were detained but subsequently released without being removed.

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The evidence, submitted to the Home Affairs Select Committee comes as part of an on-going Government review into removals, detentions and compliant environment measures affecting Caribbean nationals.

The Windrush scandal sparked major criticism of the UK’s treatment of long-standing British citizens from the Caribbean and a wider critique of the “hostile environment” approach to migration.

The study found that of the 18 people, seven were removed and five detained after the Coalition government came to power, while four were removed and two detained prior to May 2010.

The review has so far looked at 11,800 cases, with 14 of those directly affected having been contacted so far.

Mr Javid also confirmed that those who are not in the UK will be able to return, while those who are entitled to compensation will be given the help to claim it when the scheme opens.

In a statement, he said: "The experiences faced by some members of the Windrush generation are completely unacceptable and I am committed to righting the wrongs of the past.

"I would like to personally apologise to those identified in our review and am committed to providing them with the support and compensation they deserve.

"We must do everything we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again – which is why I have asked an independent adviser to look at what lessons we can learn from Windrush."

Some 2,272 people have been issued with documentation to confirm their right to remain in the UK since the Windrush taskforce was established in April.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said Mr Javid’s apology was “overdue” and “nowhere near good enough”.

“The Government has still not got a final figure on how many of our fellow citizens were deported, forced into so-called ‘voluntary removals’ or detained as prisoners in their own country. 

“It is an insult that the Home Secretary has still failed to confirm when the promised compensation scheme will be up and running, after so many of our fellow citizens have been left destitute, in debt and jobless by the Government’s hostile environment. 

“Labour is calling for a hardship fund to be set up immediately to support these people ahead of the promised compensation scheme, which will clearly not be up and running for months.”