Nearly 400 Windrush applications turned down, says Javid
Update also reveals that only one application for financial assistance under the Windrush hardship scheme has been approved
Nearly 400 people who have applied for documents confirming their right to live in the UK under the Windrush scheme have had their applications refused, the Home Office has said.
By the end of December, 4,016 people already living in the UK have been given documents confirming their right to stay in the country since the scheme launched last May, while 384 have had their applications rejected.
Home secretary Sajid Javid shared the figures with the Home Affairs Select Committee last week in an update that also showed only one person has so far received any financial assistance under the Windrush hardship scheme.
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The majority of the people who applied successfully to the Windrush sceme – 3,406 – were granted British citizenship or had their citizenship confirmed, while 610 were given indefinite leave to remain or had their leave to remain confirmed.
A smaller number of people have applied from outside the UK, of which 81 have been granted some form of visitor visa or leave to remain.
Of the 384 people whose applications for a right to remain in the UK were rejected, 272 applied from within the UK and 112 who applied overseas. Some may have to leave the country, but a Home Office spokesperson said applicants had been found ineligible for the scheme for different reasons, and some may have been directed to other routes to apply for citizenship.
Of those people who have had their applications refused, 42 have asked for their cases to be reviewed. So far, 30 of those cases have been reviewed and the original outcomes upheld, and 12 reviews are ongoing.
“None of the refusal decisions have been made lightly, and all of them have had lengthy and detailed consideration,” Javid said in his letter to the committee.
“The decision to refuse in these cases has been checked and challenged extensively at operational level and been approved at ministerial level. Policy experts have been engaged to ensure that all refusals are in line with our policies and guidance.”
The update also showed that the Home Office had received 16 applications for financial aid to support people in "urgent and exceptional circumstances" before its compensation scheme opens. Only one application had been approved, Javid said, while five had been rejected. The remaining 10 applications were still under consideration at the time of the update.
The figures were published in the same week as a row over the Home Office’s first deportation since the Windrush scandal broke. Twenty-nine foreign nationals who have been convicted of criminal offences were flown to Jamaica on Wednesday, including one man thought to have applied unsuccessfully to remain in the UK under the Windrush scheme.
Applications are being handled by a Windrush taskforce set up by the Home Office last year in the wake of the scandal.
The taskforce is working to track down members of the Windrush generation that it wrongly detained or deported in the past. Last year’s independent review into the events leading up to the scandal found the Home Office had deported 83 individuals who arrived in the UK before 1973 and detained a further 81.
The taskforce has now tracked down 131 of those 164 people, it said. However, there are a number of people it has not been able to trace, and seventeen are already deceased.
It has so far been unable to contact nearly a quarter of those who were deported. It has so far contacted 52 of the 83 people who had been deported, while 10 are now deceased and 21 have yet to be traced.
In the update, Javid said the Home Office would open its compensation scheme for those who had been affected by the Windrush scandal “as quickly as possible”. A consultation that ran last year closed on 16 November, and Javid said the government’s response would be published “shortly”.
“I continue to believe it is important that we take a cross party-approach which recognises the most important thing we can do is ensure the wrongs which some members of the Windrush generation have faced are put right,” Javid said.
“I can reassure members that my department remains entirely focussed on righting the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation.”
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