What was known about Windrush in 2014?

Published: 27th Apr 2018

In brief

Claim

Theresa May knew about the Windrush issue in 2014 - there was a report in 2014 which reported on these stories.

Conclusion

The report included stories of individuals of the Windrush generation facing difficulties proving their immigration status. We don’t know whether Theresa May saw the report first-hand, though the Home Office was made aware of the findings.

"Theresa May knew [about the Windrush issue] in 2014  - there was a Legal Action Group report in 2014 which reported on all these stories."

Jen Robinson, 26 April 2018

In 2014 the Legal Action Group, a charity which describes itself as promoting equal access to justice, published a report called ‘Chasing Status:  The ‘Surprised Brits’ who find they are living with irregular immigration status’.

They told the stories of long-term UK residents unable to prove their immigration status who then had problems accessing benefits, work and facing removal from the country.

While the report doesn’t explicitly talk about the ‘Windrush generation’ it includes the stories of four people who came from Commonwealth countries before 1973, and so have the right to live indefinitely in the UK under the 1971 Immigration Act.

These people faced including losing their job, receiving orders from the, then-called, Border Agency to leave the country, being unable to use the Job Centre and losing benefits.

After publication, the report was covered in the Guardian who received the following response from a Home Office spokesperson:

"The Home Office said it worked closely with local authorities and other groups to ensure that people with an “uncertain immigration status” received appropriate support in this “complex area of work”.

“When these people are brought to our attention we will consider their immigration status,” said a spokesman. “However, it is up to anyone who does not have an established immigration status to regularise their position, however long they have been here. All applications are considered in line with the immigration rules and nationality legislation, taking account of any compelling or compassionate circumstances.”

We don’t know whether Theresa May, then Home Secretary, saw the report first-hand.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time. Read the roundup.


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