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US Citizens Eligible for Windrush Compensation Scheme
A Compensation Scheme for the Windrush Generation has been launched in the UK

Published on April 3, 2019

The UK Government today launched a Compensation Scheme for individuals "of any nationality" who have been affected by what is widely known as the 'Windrush Scandal'. As The American reported in February 2019, the Government's Windrush Scheme is open to eligible citizens of the United States who have struggled with UK immigration. The Government's announcement of the Compensation Scheme as being open to "anyone of any nationality" opens the door for compensation to be available to Americans who are covered by the scheme.

The Government's launch explains that the Compensation Scheme "will provide payments to eligible individuals who did not have the right documentation to prove their status in the UK and suffered adverse effects on their life as a result. These could range from a loss of employment or access to housing, education or NHS healthcare to emotional distress or a deterioration in mental and physical health ... The scheme is open to anyone from any nationality who has the right to live or work in the UK without any restrictions or is now a British Citizen, and arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988. It is also open to anyone from a Commonwealth country who arrived and settled in the UK before 1973. Certain children and grandchildren of those arriving before 1973 and some close family members may also be eligible to apply ... People who were wrongfully detained or removed from the UK could also be able to make a claim."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that "When I became Home Secretary I vowed to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation. We’ve been working tirelessly to fulfil that promise ever since and have helped more than 3,600 people secure the citizenship they were entitled to ... But it’s right that we compensate those who faced extreme difficulties and hardship – and this scheme will go some way in doing that."

Martin Forde QC said "I have been involved in advising the Home Office on the design of the Windrush Compensation Scheme, and I believe it is accessible and most importantly, fairly compensates those who have suffered ... The scheme has been built on feedback from affected communities, and their personal stories have been crucial in its design."

The important aspect of this story for Americans is the explicit note from the launch that individuals "of any nationality" will be eligible. The BBC reported on a scenario back in February where a US Citizen in the UK, Willow Sims, was told she was not eligible for Windrush Scheme assistance, even though she was. Labour MP Ellie Reeves, the MP representing Ms Sims' constituency, said at the time that "My constituent is fully entitled to assistance under the Windrush taskforce scheme, yet due to mistakes at every level of government, and despite numerous representations to the Home Office by Willow, her solicitors and me, going as far back as October, her status has wrongly been brought into question. She now risks eviction from her home."

This new Compensation Scheme and the specific terminology deployed by the Government implies that Compensation may now be available to Americans like Willow.

Full details on the Scheme can be found via https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-launches-windrush-compensation-scheme

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