Compensation from Windrush scandal – survivor says it’s a nightmare

A report from the Home Affairs Committee has stated that most people who had applied for compensation four years ago when the scandal became public have still not received a penny. One survivor said that his was a ‘daily nightmare’ waiting for government compensation.

The report comes as MP’s call for the Windrush compensation scheme to be withdrawn from the Home Office.

David McKoy, aged 59, of Stretford in Greater Manchester told how his life was ‘in limbo.’ He is still waiting for a payment. Mr McKoy arrived in the UK from Jamaica when he was 11 years of age.

Because he was so young, he was added to his sister’s passport and had always assumed that he had indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Along with many others Mr McKoy faced the threat of deportation back in 2012. This was after changes were made to the immigration laws regarding people who did not have their own passports.

A minister from the Home Office said that they were ‘making improvements.’ He also said that to remove it from the scheme would add more delays to compensation.

The financial compensation scheme was set up in 2018 after the government admitted the policy was wrong. Mr McKoy applied for compensation 18 months age but stated that he was still waiting for any financial aid. This has added greatly to his stress.

Every day, said Mr McKoy was ‘a nightmare, and he simply wanted to put the matter to bed.’ He wants to use the money to pay for his return to Jamaica to visit the grave of an aunt who helped bring him up.

What is the Windrush scandal?

This scandal saw thousands of UK residents wrongly classed as illegal immigrants. Many of these people originated from the Caribbean and arrived in the UK between 1948 – 1971. The result of being wrongly classified meant that thousands were wrongly detained or even deported.

Because many of the families brought their children with them and added them to passports they were unable to prove that they had the right to live in the country as adults. Many assumed that they were allowed when the ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies started in 2012.

In the Home Affairs Committee Report the recommendation was made that an individual organisation take over the compensation scheme. It went on to highlight that 23 people had already passed away before receiving any compensation.

The Home Office response stated that they ‘remained steadfast in the commitment to ensure that members of the Windrush generation receive every penny of compensation to which they are entitled.’

The spokesperson said that they ‘continue to make improvements. These include the simplification of the application process, along with hire extra caseworkers and the removal of the end date.’

Another survivor of the scandal Mr Johnny Samuels stated that he would continue to fight for compensation which he is entitled to receive. He suggested that the Home Office may also be waiting for survivors to die before they were compensated.

Mr Samuels came to the UK with his parents in 1964 to ‘rebuild Britain.’ He was shocked to receive a letter informing him that he no longer had the right to work in the UK and would have to leave.

‘After 55 years in the UK, the Home Office letter arrived, telling me that I had six weeks to leave the country.’

The ‘stigma’

His colleagues at work believed that he was an illegal immigrant and the embarrassment of being told to leave the country was ‘a stigma that does not go away.’

Mr Samuels says he is still in limbo waiting for any compensation. He added that ‘justice delayed in not going to be justice denied.’ Windrush survivors like Mr Samuel would keep fighting until the last breath.

MP’s have echoed the call for the Home Office to relinquish control of the scheme. Mr Samuels has called on the prime minister and the home secretary to act.

The Home Affairs Committee has found that the official scheme launched in 2019 has traumatised people because of the ‘litany of flaws’ in the design and operation.

Yvette Cooper, chairman of the committee says that it is truly shocking how few people have received compensation. Urgent action is needed now to get compensation to the people who have been so badly wronged.


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