The independent review into the events leading up to the Windrush scandal has published a call for evidence that will run until 19 October 2018.
The review will involve talking to “Home Office staff of all grades” and people directly affected and their families, but is also seeking “valuable perspectives” from others outside these two main groups.
It is seeking written comments on the “main legislative, policy and operational decisions” that led to people who arrived from the Caribbean before 1971 becoming “entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants”.
The scandal erupted after it emerged that some British citizens of Caribbean descent had been stripped of their rights to work, denied access to public services and threatened with deportation under so-called “hostile environment” immigration policies – which the government is now referring to as “compliant environment”.
The furore led to the resignation of then home secretary Amber Rudd, after she accidentally misled Parliament over the existence of illegal immigrant removals targets in her department. Her successor Sajid Javid announced the review in June, to be overseen by Wendy Williams, Britain’s only black inspector of police, fire and rescue services.
The call for evidence is primarily aimed at non-governmental organisations, immigration lawyers, advice organisations, charities, think tanks and academics, as well as “parties who were part of maintaining the ‘compliant environment’” such as employers, landlords and local authorities, but would also like to hear from as many people as possible who can offer an insight. "[This] will include talking to Home Office staff of all grades and hearing directly from people affected, as well as their families", according to the call for evidence.
It is seeking views on the factors that played a part in the scandal, why issues were not identified sooner, whether corrective measures are now in place and the lessons that the Home Office can learn “to make sure it does things differently in future”.
“We want the best possible understanding of what has happened and what needs to change, so something like this can’t happen again,” said the review.
Responses to and queries on the call for evidence should be emailed to HOwindrushlessonslearnedreview@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Williams aims to publish a report on her findings by the end of March next year. She is supported by a small team primarily drawn from the Home Office, headed by a Home Office director who is external to immigration.