Windrush scheme starts refusing people deemed ineligible for citizenship
A government taskforce designed to help alleged victims of the Windrush scandal is set to begin refusing applications of those deemed ineligible for citizenship.
The taskforce was set up after it emerged that long-term residents of the UK were wrongly targeted by the government’s hostile environment policy on illegal immigration.
Many residents were told to prove their right to be in the country or face deportation.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed late on Friday that the first refusals would be issued to people in the UK who, though they have the right to remain in the country, have been found not to qualify for citizenship because serious criminality has meant they failed to meet the necessary good character requirement.
People in this category include those with convictions for murder, child sexual offences, the supply of drugs and robbery, the Home Office said.
Refusals will also begin to be issued to people who have applied for documentation from abroad but have been found to be ineligible as they were not able to provide sufficient evidence that they were settled in the UK before January 1, 1973.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused her counterpart of “going back on his promise” by asking for documents he “knows people do not have”.
But Mr Javid said: "The Windrush generation have helped build this country as they themselves have built a life here. I am appalled by what some people have been through but am delighted that our taskforce is helping so many people to establish their right to be here and gain British citizenship.
"We are doing all we can to gather the information needed to enable applications to be processed successfully and quickly.
"We are looking for reasons to grant rather than refuse but we need to ensure that only those who should be benefiting from this scheme are benefiting.
"All refusals have followed careful and deliberate consideration.
"No decision has been taken lightly and applicants will be able to have the refusal reviewed free of charge if they disagree."
In the same update, Mr Javid said 2,121 members of the Windrush generation had been granted citizenship.