Luton Borough Council
Windrush Generation advice
From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, many people came to the UK from around the Commonwealth to help rebuild Britain after the war.
In 1948, SS Windrush brought almost 500 Jamaicans to Britain. The term Windrush generation has since been used to describe the original adult and child migrants of this era from the Commonwealth.
Frequently, the passports they entered the UK with were passports of citizens of the UK and colonies but in general, when their country of birth obtained independence, they lost the UK nationality and gained the nationality of their country of birth.
They did not lose their right to permanent residence, if they had permanent residence in the UK, when that happened.
The Immigration Act 1971 provided that those in the UK before it came into force should be treated as having been given indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK, as well as retaining a right of abode for certain Commonwealth citizens.
But recent restrictions in immigration law require people to have paperwork proof of near-continuous residence in the UK.
Many of those in the Windrush generation lack these records, and are now concerned about proving they are here legally.
Those seeking to comply with the law do not necessarily understand what constitutes proof of a right to work or stay. Neither is it clear to individuals what they could offer in terms of documentation.
This is not a new situation, but has recently been highlighted by investigative journalism by The Guardian, which uncovered and documented how ‘retirement-age citizens who have lived and paid taxes in the UK for decades have been detained, made homeless, sacked or denied benefits and NHS treatment because they have struggled to prove they are British’.
You can read more from The Guardian here.
Your solicitor should outline the original documents you should try to locate. This is likely to be an original or subsequent National passport. Once documents have been reviewed, the solicitor will then be able to either advise which application to make, or make the application on your behalf.
This may be an application for a No Time Limit (NTL) endorsement, which will usually be provided as a Biometric Residence Permit.
If it is not possible to produce any passports then legal advice is recommended to find out what alternative application they may be able to make.
Home Office fees
There is no fee for an application under the Windrush Scheme.
In addition, people in these circumstances will not be required to pass the normal Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test.
Many thanks to the Luton Law Centre team for their expertise in putting this briefing together.
© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ