Wed | Aug 10, 2022

Immigration Corner | Obtaining a document to prove right to be in the UK – Windrush Scheme

Published:Tuesday | June 28, 2022 | 12:07 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

My relative has been living in the United Kingdom from the 1970s, and I have heard that he may be eligible to receive a document giving him the right to be over there. Please advise if this is so.

– QD

Dear QD,

Persons who are settled in the United Kingdom but do not have a document to prove it, may be eligible to apply under the ‘Windrush Scheme’.

Those persons may be able to apply for a document to prove that they can live and work over there if one of the following is true:

• They went to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973;

• Their parents came to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973; or

• They came to the UK from any country before December 31, 1988, and are now settled there.

Please note that it is free to apply.

Persons might also be entitled to apply for citizenship for free if they are a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before January 1, 1973, or they are the child of someone who did.

PERSONS WHO ARRIVED BEFORE 1973 FROM A COMMONWEALTHH COUNTRY

Persons may be able to apply for a document to prove they can live and work in Britain if both of the following apply:

• They are Commonwealth citizens;

• They were settled in the UK before January 1, 1973.

What they are entitled to depends on whether they:

• Have been living in the UK continuously;

• Left the UK for more than two years and came back;

• Are outside the UK.

PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN LIVING IN THE UK CONTINUOUSLY

Persons who have lived in the UK continuously, or have the right of abode, can apply for one of the following:

• British citizenship;

• Evidence that they have the right of abode;

• A document confirming they have indefinite leave to remain.

Persons wishing to apply should contact the Windrush helpline for help if they are eligible.

PERSONS WHO HAVE LEFT THE UK FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS AND RETURN

Persons who have been away from the UK for more than two years at some point and are now lawfully in the UK, might be entitled to indefinite leave to remain.

If they already have indefinite leave to remain, they might be able to apply for either:

• A document to prove they have this; or

• British citizenship.

Persons should contact the Windrush helpline for help if they are eligible.

PERSONS OUTSIDE OF THE UK

Those persons who have left the UK and have lost their indefinite leave to remain, might be entitled to:

• A Returning Resident visa; or

• A 10-year, multiple-entry visa.

Those persons should also contact the Windrush helpline for help if they are eligible.

CHILDREN OF A COMMONWEALTH CITIZEN WHO ARRIVED BEFORE 1973

These persons can apply for British citizenship or a document confirming they have indefinite leave to remain.

If they do not have indefinite leave to remain but are here lawfully, they can apply for it through the scheme. To apply, one of their parents must be a Commonwealth citizen and either:

• Was settled in the UK before January 1, 1973; or

• Had the right of abode.

One of the following must also be true:

• They were born in the UK; or

• They came to live in the UK before turning 18 years old.

Further, they must have lived continuously in the UK since arriving (or being born) there.

The Windrush helpline can assist if they are eligible.

PERSONS WHO SUFFERED LOSSES BECAUSE THEY DID NOT HAVE DOCUMENTS

Persons who are eligible under the Windrush Scheme might also be able to apply for compensation. The compensation scheme is for losses that happened because they could not show that they had a right to live in the UK.

‘Losses’ can be things like not being able to work, find a place to live, or get health treatment. They can also include immigration action, like detention or removal from the UK.

I hope this helps.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, deputy global president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: lawbassie@yahoo.com