The Windrush scandal – a sign of things to come for EU citizens?

For me personally, a huge advantage of living in the UK is the fact that I’ve had so many opportunities to meet so amazing (and inspiring) people, who migrated to Britain from all corners of the world. Many of them I call friends.

Due to the pandemic, I feel that we often miss some important stories. This week, my eye caught a report about the Home Office’s appalling failure to protect and support the victims of the Windrush scandal.

I wonder whether statistics (see below) show the inefficiency of the Home Office or whether they clearly demonstrate an implementation of hostile policies towards many immigrants, many of whom have been living in the UK for decades. Is it maybe both?

  • The scheme has been launched in 2019
  • 633 compensations pay-outs have been made, out of 2,000 applications (in 2 years)
  • The Home Office thinks that more than 11,000 are eligible for a compensation, however less than 2,200 individuals have submitted their claim, only 633 of them successfully
  • On average, victims of the Windrush scandal are waiting 6 months to find out whether their appeal was successful, and longer to receive any funds.

The Home Office, not for the first time, appears to be disorganised and unable to fast track incoming claims. Moreover, it forgets that there is a human being behind each application. I heard about a man, who is simply so fed up with waiting for an outcome of his appeal that he decided to leave the UK, a place which he called home for many years.

With the fast approaching deadline for the EU Settled Status Scheme (30 June), can we draw any parallels and similarities?

* Michal Siewniak is a Lib Dem activist and councillor for Handside ward, Welwyn Hatfield.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • James Fowler 24th May '21 - 11:49am

    Dear Michal, I worry about this too. The ‘Hostile Environment’ and ‘Citizens of Nowhere’ attitudes have, I suspect, permeated the culture of the department and much else besides. You have my full sympathy.

  • I too am worried about the direction this country is going in. It has some resemblance to the past?, and not one we should be encouraging.

  • Anders Hanson 24th May '21 - 2:39pm

    I suspect the same will happen with many EU citizens in the future. My father who moved to the UK in 1979 and given indefinite leave to remain at the time was recently contacted by the Home Office threatening him with the potential loss of his pension and access to the NHS if he didn’t register for settled status. He doesn’t need to and has proof of his right to live in this country. But he continued to worry about it. How many people won’t realise or no longer have proof of their status after 40+ years? Many only had the right stamped in their passport which they ceased to do if that country subsequently joined the EU. Will the Home Office still have their records after this time?

  • Nonconformistradical 24th May '21 - 3:14pm

    “Will the Home Office still have their records after this time?”

    More to the point – what chance would they have of finding them?

  • I doubt anyone with ethics or even simple humanity would want to work for the Home Office as it is now.
    So presumably it’s staffed by people who have neither.

  • @Anders Hanson – “My father who moved to the UK in 1979 … He doesn’t need to and has proof of his right to live in this country. But he continued to worry about it.”

    Whilst he may not need to apply, I would recommend given the hostile environment created by Brexit and the evidence from the Windrush scandal, that he does apply…

  • Roland 25th May ’21 – 12:47am…………… given the hostile environment created by Brexit and the evidence from the Windrush scandal……………

    The ‘hostile environment’ wasn’t created by Brexit…

    This party glosses over the 2012/13 ‘Go Home Vans’ and “deport first and hear appeals later” policy*

    *The UK Home Office hostile environment policy was first announced in 2012 under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
    The policy has been cited as one of the harshest immigration policies in the history of the United Kingdom, and has been widely criticised as inhumane, ineffective, and unlawful.
    The United Nations Human Rights Council stated that the policy has fostered xenophobia within the UK, while the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that the policy broke equalities law. This policy directly led to significant issues with the Windrush generation and other Commonwealth citizens being deported after not being able to prove their right to remain in the UK, despite being guaranteed that right.

  • Silly me! I should have known it was all the fault of the Lib Dems when in coalition??

  • Barry Lofty 25th May ’21 – 12:01pm………Silly me! I should have known it was all the fault of the Lib Dems when in coalition??…..

    Silly, indeed! Which bit of my (expats 25th May ’21 – 9:28am) do you disagree with?

    Ian Sanderson (RM3) 25th May ’21 – 12:30pm……‘2012/13 ‘Go Home Vans’.’……..
    I remember it well; it was during the Autumn conference in Glasgow in 2013. As well as general condemnation from the party, it was clear that that shameful initiative was launched by Theresa May without the knowledge of Liberal Democrats in government, even those in her own department………..

    This ‘general condemnation’; was this issue even raised during conference? Considering that the agenda subjects were open until 19th August and the ‘vans’ ran from late July to late August there would have been time…About ‘general condemnation from the party’ Wiki mentions that ” Nick Clegg and Vince Cable “expressed concerns”; contrast that with the remarks of Diane Abbott who, for all her faults, lived up to the description of ‘condemnation’..

  • Peter Hirst 25th May '21 - 6:38pm

    It is scandalous that our immigration and asylum laws are so restrictive and this government can’t even obey its own rules. Brexit has given it an excuse to restrict almost everyone from living here. The only solution is a change of government.

  • @expats – I take your point, but it doesn’t change my advice: if you want certainty over your right to reside in this country then apply – yes it shouldn’t be necessary and yes we should complain to our MP’s, however for peace of mind just do it…

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