Victims of Windrush scandal could receive £100,000 in compensation

UK government will increase payments to victims of immigration crackdown, starting this week

22nd June 1948:  Newly arrived Jamaican immigrants on board the 'Empire Windrush' at Tilbury.  (Photo by Douglas Miller/Keystone/Getty Images)

Victims of the Windrush scandal will receive as much as £100,000 ($134,056) in compensation after the government set out plans to dramatically increase the support and the speed at which it is given out.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to announce that the minimum amount those affected will receive is to increase from £250 to £10,000, with payments to begin this week. The maximum could go above £100,000 in exceptional cases.

Writing in The Times, Ms Patel and Bishop Derek Webley, the co-chairs of the Windrush working group, said victims had "suffered terrible treatment and were let down by successive governments".

Home Secretary Priti Patel at the Home Office in central London, where she signed a new agreement with her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin aimed at curbing the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats, Saturday Nov. 28, 2020.  The lawmakers met via a video Internet link, agreeing to double the number of French police patrolling a 150km stretch of coastline in northern France in an attempt to stop people crossing the English Channel in small boats. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

In 2017 the scandal began to emerge amid reports that the government had deported, detained and deprived the legal rights of hundreds of Commonwealth citizens. It particularly affected many of the Windrush generation, who had arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries before 1973.

On Monday, Ms Patel will set out the changes to the compensation scheme, which has paid out £2 million and offered another £1 million. Alexandra Ankrah, the most senior black official working on the scheme, said last month she resigned from it because it was not fit for purpose.

Ms Patel and Bishop Webley said the Windrush generation “helped build the Britain we know and love today”.

“We want these changes to make a real difference to people’s lives, and urge everyone who may have been affected to apply,” they said.

“While nothing can undo the suffering that some members of the generation and their descendants endured, we hope these changes will go some way to ease their lives, and enable them to move forward with hope and determination.

“We are determined to ensure those who were so badly let down get every possible support and fair compensation,” they said.

In 2012, Theresa May, who was home secretary at the time and would later become prime minister, introduced a tightening of immigration rules under the government’s "hostile environment" policy. It sought to crack down on undocumented migrants.

Many of the Windrush generation arrived as children on their parents passports and lacked the official documentation needed to show their right to remain in the UK.