Some people from the Caribbean, or countries such as India, Bangladesh or Pakistan who settled lawfully in the UK before 1988, faced problems because they did not have the correct documents to show their legal status.
As a result, they may have found it hard to demonstrate their right to work and access services in the UK, and lost out on things like jobs, housing and healthcare. This has become known as the ‘Windrush scandal’ as many of those affected are people from the ‘Windrush generation’.
We sat down with Azar, who has worked as a Windrush Outreach Engagement Officer at the Home Office since April 2018, to answer some common questions about the Windrush Compensation Scheme, as often many people don’t realise they are eligible to apply for support.
What is the Windrush Compensation Scheme all about?
The UK Government set up the Windrush Compensation Scheme to help those affected by the Windrush scandal get compensation for the impacts and losses they suffered.
Is it true that the scheme is only available to people from the Caribbean?
No, this is incorrect. Windrush compensation is available to people of all ages and nationalities, who suffered losses because they could not prove their right to live in the UK. Some children, grandchildren and close family members may also be able to claim compensation, and you may also be able to claim on behalf of a relative who has died.
Can you still apply for help if you don’t have the correct paperwork, or can’t prove you suffered losses?
The Windrush Help Team will consider a wide variety of evidence and can provide advice on documents to show your date of birth or arrival in the UK, and your lawful status. They can also put you in touch with a free independent adviser for more help with your claim.
We heard it can take years to receive support or compensation, is this really the case?
Getting help is easier than you think. The Windrush Help Team are specially trained to help you through the application process and get you extra support if you need it. The team aims to make a decision on claims as quickly as possible.
Will your immigration status be affected if you apply for compensation?
All active Windrush cases are dealt with confidentiality and sensitively by the Windrush Help Team, and applying for the scheme will not affect the immigration status of you or any members of your family.
How much compensation do people receive?
The Windrush Compensation Scheme was improved in 2020. If you’ve suffered – whether in a big or small way – compensation now starts at a minimum of £10,000 and can go up to £100,000 or more. There is no limit on the total amount of compensation available, and no end date for the scheme.
I also want to highlight that the helpline is free and any applications made to the Windrush Compensation Scheme are free.
Do you have to accept the first offer of compensation offered?
Not at all. If you’re offered compensation and aren’t happy with the amount offered, you are entitled to have the offer reviewed by another team in the Home Office. If you are still unhappy with the offer, you can have it reviewed by an independent Adjudicator.
Can you apply if you are based overseas?
You’re still able to apply for support from the Windrush Help Team, but the process is slightly different. If you’re applying from outside the UK, you must use the online application form.
Can people receive support to complete their application?
Yes, absolutely. If you are worried about applying due to language, disability, mental health or for any other reason, the team can provide extra support. If you need help completing the application form, the Help Team can also put you in touch with a free independent advisor.
To learn if you can receive help from the Windrush Compensation Scheme, even if you are unsure of the documents you need, visit https://gov.uk/windrushhelpteam/ or call the FREE helpline 0800 678 1925 for assistance.