The appalling treatment of the Windrush generation and their descendants extends far beyond those who have come forward to contact the Home Office team to date, MP Helen Hayes has told the House of Commons.
“Many of my constituents are living in fear and deep mistrust of the Home Office—not least because of the continual conflation with illegal immigration in discussions of Windrush.
“There is an urgent need for access to independent confidential advice for Windrush citizens and their descendants, who are concerned about their status but do not trust the Home Office.
“So far, that work has been left to the voluntary sector, but the lack of funding over the summer has meant that Black Cultural Archives in my constituency has had to stop running advice surgeries.”
Helen Hayes (Lab, Dulwich and West Norwood) asked if the immigration minister would now acknowledge the far-reaching breach of trust that the Windrush scandal has caused and commit to funding genuinely independent advice for those who are too fearful of the Home Office to come forward?
Responding, immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: “The hon. Lady raises a really important point about people who might be afraid to come forward.
“We have given a clear assurance that no information provided to the Windrush task force will be passed to immigration enforcement and we will work extremely hard to assist all those with partial information to demonstrate their time in the UK.
“Martin Forde QC, the independent consultant for the compensation scheme, has been working hard with outreach programmes, which are an important part of the process. “The Windrush task force has held a number of surgeries up and down the country, reaching out to members of the Caribbean communities to engender confidence.
“Some of the best advocates for the Windrush taskforce are those who have been through it successfully. “There have been a number of reports from those who have found the process easy, and thousands have been granted not only documentation but citizenship.