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Windrush: Home Office knew of mistakes five years ago

HOME OFFICE: Sajid Javid has vowed to "do right" by the Windrush generation

THE HOME Office was informed that Caribbean-born UK residents who make up the Windrush generation had been mistakenly classed as illegal immigrants as far back as 2013, immigration advice experts have said.

Pro bono legal advisers said they were approached by people from the Windrush generation worried about text messages and letters that they were receiving from the Home Office advising them to leave the country.

The surge in the number of older members of the UK’s Caribbean community seeking legal advice began after Capita was granted a Home Office contract in 2012 to help deal with roughly 174,000 migrants who had overstayed.

The revelation is the latest in a series of blunders that highlight the department’s mishandling of the cases of the Windrush generation.

Arten Llazari, chief executive at the Refugee and Migrant Centre in Wolverhampton, which dealt with cases of hundreds of individuals who were wrongly sent letters telling them that they did not have the right to remain in the UK, said: “The Capita 2012 contract effectively outsourced part of the creation of the hostile environment to the private sector. In the process many vulnerable citizens, mostly of Caribbean descent, were harassed and repeatedly threatened with deportation.

“Charities and concerned MPs have been highlighting what is now known as the Windrush scandal to the Home Office since at least 2013 to no avail.”

Despite informing the Home Office of the numerous errors, the situation did not improve.

Llazari said: “The details of thousands of Windrush people were wrongly included in the database Capita was given by the Home Office. The contract ran during 2013-14. If the feedback was used by the Home Office to improve processes then how come Windrush cases were still being detained in 2017?”

MPs on the House of Commons Home Affairs committee questioned immigration minister Caroline Nokes, Philip Rutnam, permanent secretary at the Home Office and Hugh Ind, the Home Office’s director-general of immigration enforcement, on the Windrush scandal yesterday.

Neither Nokes, Rutnam or Ind were to say how many people had been wrongfully detained in immigration detention centres in the last six years, or how many people had been wrongfully deported.

Ind told the committee that there had been incidents of wrongful removal.

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