THE WINDRUSH compensation scheme deadline has been extended, the Home Office announced today.
Those affected by the Windrush immigration scandal will now have a further two years to submit claims, the home secretary said.
The window for applications will now remain open until April 2, 2023, as opposed to April 2 2021.
“The scheme will now be easier to navigate”Martin Forde, independent adviser to the Home Office
Home secretary Priti Patel said: “Successive governments failed the Windrush generation which is why we have listened to feedback from community leaders and those affected, to hear how the government can begin to do justice to those who have contributed so much to our country.”
As well as extending the closing date for claims, the Home Office will also be introducing measures to make the scheme more flexible.
One of the changes being made is around the mitigation policy, the criteria by which financial settlements are made. This is being amended to take a wider range of circumstances into account.
It means that claimants will no longer only be expected to show they took immediate steps to resolve their immigration status.
If those affected tried to contact the Home Office or sought advice at any time to resolve their legal status, then this will be taken into account.
Martin Forde, lawyer and independent adviser to the Home Office on the compensation scheme, said: “By taking a more generous approach to mitigation evidence and continuing the support available for those wanting to claim, the scheme will now be easier to navigate, more accessible than ever and will provide fair compensation to all those affected.”
Advocates for those affected by the scandal and claimants have been vocal about the challenges they’ve experienced in relation to the compensation scheme.
Claims to date
Figures shared with parliament today show that since April 2019, when the scheme became operational, up until 31 December, 1,108 claims had been received, with 36 payments made so far totalling £62,198.
Compensation payments continue to be paid by the Home Office, which said many of these payments are interim, meaning claimants may receive further awards later.
Detailed compensation statistics will be published by the Home Office later this month.
Help for claimants
Community groups and organisations around the UK have put on events, workshops and surgeries to assist people making claims.
The Home Office is currently funding Citizens Advice to provide independent advice to those applying for compensation.
The charity has been tasked with continuing this service for a further six months, while a contract to continue the support for the duration of the extended scheme is launched.