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Windrush. Calls for Victims to apply while there is Time
Official statistics indicate over 12.500 people have had settled status and just under 2000 people been compensated (May 2021) which is far below the more than 50.000 people estimates indicate may have been affected by the windrush Generation crisis. The Home Office is encouraging more people who could have been affected to get in touch and check if they are eligible so they can benefit from the scheme. It is significant to note that the scheme does not only include people from the Caribbean but also affected people from the Commonwealth and other countries who arrived in the UK during the timeline of the scandal.
The Windrush Scheme (Documentation) was created to help people of the WIndrush Generation to get the right documentation to apply for settled status in the UK and the Windrush Compensation Scheme will help with payments to those who either lost their jobs, healthcare, suffered family breakups, were detained or deported because they had difficulties to prove their right to live/work in the UK.
The Windrush Community Fund was designed with the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group and is a Home Office fund administered by Voice4Change England
Citizen Outreach Coalition is one of several local community organisations selected to campaign to get more people apply for the Windrush Scheme (Documentation) and Windrush Compensation Scheme.
According to Liverpool based Windrush activist Garrick Prayogg who arrived from Jamaica in 1967, some people are not taking the Home Office offer to apply for many reasons; “The difficulty with the scheme is not many people know about the scheme. Not many people know how to access the scheme and also people have been traumatized by what happened to them. It is a diificult situation to keep reliving that story”.
He advises the Home Office to improve the scheme and make it more accessible and also provide help so that people can get assistance with making the claim”. In December 2020, the Home Office made some changes to the scheme including increasing compensation payments that will include even those who had been paid and their payments could be reviewed upwards. Claims to the scheme started in April 2019 and end on April 2 2023 but some Windrush activists including Mr Prayogg are campaigning the date is extended because of the various 2021 lockdowns caused by the Corona Virus pandemic
Qualifying criteria for Scheme
To qualify for the Compensation scheme, applicants must have been a commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before January 1 1973 (and could now be a British citizen), anyone who settled in the UK before January 1 1973 but their status lapsed because they left the UK for more than two years, their children or grandchildren who meet the above requirements, any person of any nationality who arrived in the UK Before December 31 1988 (and may now be settled or a British citizen) and any commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before January 1 1973 and their ststus lapsed because they left the UK for more than two years. The above are known as primart claimants. Close family members of primary claimants who have died could also claim on their behalf and this includes children, parents or a sibling.
Aware making claims may be daunting for a lot of people, the Home Office has opened a dedicated phone line and team to handle the claims.
People can get to the Windrush help team by ringing Freephone 0800 678 1925 from Mondays to Fridays between 9am-5pm. They could also email WindrushCompensationScheme@homeoffice.gov.uk & firstname.lastname@example.org. For those resident abroad, they are advised to email the team and request a call back.
Possible beneficiaries are encouraged to check if they qualify and apply before time runs out.