Windrush Generation and Support for Undocumented Migrants

Who are the Windrush Generation?

The ‘Windrush generation’ refers to Commonwealth nationals who settled in the UK before 1973. The Immigration Act 1971 provided protection for Commonwealth citizens if they have lived here for more than five years and if they arrived in the country before 1973. The Act provided that those here before it came into force should be treated as having been given indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK, as well as retaining a right of abode for certain Commonwealth citizens. Therefore everyone that arrived in the UK before 1973 was given settlement rights and was not required to get any specific documentation to prove those rights.

Hostile Environment

However, as a result the Immigration Act 2014, a ‘hostile environment’ was created causing many of the Windrush Generation to be denied their British citizenship and legal rights, wrongly detained, and threatened with deportation. There are many who were wrongly deported from the UK, or denied the right to return from vacation or family bereavements by the Home Office. 


It is important to note that this also affects those from other commonwealth countries.


Lewisham Council’s Support the Windrush Generation

Lewisham council supports the Windrush generation and passed a motion in Full Council on 3rd October 2018

Lewisham Council publicly opposes the mistreatment and criminalisation of Windrush individuals and families; and resolves:

•          In continuing to actively campaign for an end to all ‘hostile environment’ policy measures, calls upon the Mayor of Lewisham alongside the 3 local Lewisham MPs to demand that the Government enables the WindrushGeneration to acquire British citizenship at no cost, and with proactive assistance throughout the process, which is not time limited. To note that the ‘hostile environment’ is not restricted to the Windrush generation, and that the campaign be extended to include post-1973 spouses and children that followed to join their pre-1973 family member.

•          To proactively advertise the open consultation of the Windrush Compensation Scheme, through which victims of the Windrush Scandal will be able to claim compensation.

•          To call upon the Government to fully and financially support advice agencies in their work to  achieve support, advocacy and justice for all Lewisham’s residents affected by the Windrush Scandal.

•          To thank third sector organisations within the borough for their support and advocacy for victims of WindrushScandal. Signposting those affected to organisations which provide support, advice and advocacy.

•          To call upon the Government to conduct an independent public enquiry into this Windrush scandal.

•          To review the Council’s policies and procedures to ensure that those affected are supported appropriately.

•         In honour and recognition of the immense contributions of those known as the Windrush Generation, who arrived in the UK between 1948 and 1973, lead Lewisham in the annual celebration of Windrush Day on 22nd June. That this day recognises the contributions from The Commonwealth Member Countries to Lewisham’s rich culture and diversity.

Access to Support & Information

Advice from the Local Government Association has stated It has been confirmed that:

anyone from the ‘Windrush’ generation can become a British citizen

the free citizenship offer will apply not just to the families of Caribbean migrants who came to the UK between 1948 and 1973 but anyone from other Commonwealth nations who settled in the UK over the same period

the Government will waive fees for British citizenship applications both for the Windrush generation and their children, both to those who have no current documentation, and also to those who have it

non-Commonwealth citizens who settled in the UK before 1973 and people who arrived between 1973-88 who have an existing right to be in the UK are not expected to pay for the documentation they need to prove their indefinite leave to remain. Confirmation of existing British citizenship for children born to the Windrushgeneration in the UK also can be given where needed free of charge.

the knowledge of language and life in the UK test will not be required or attendance at a citizenship ceremony

any charges for those returning to the UK for those who had retired to their countries of origin after living in the UK would also be removed, with further work with our embassies and high commissions around publicising this offer

the information shared via the taskforce will not be used to deport individuals, with the aim to help resolve cases as soon as possible

those applying for citizenship under the scheme will not need to meet the good character requirements in place for all citizenship and those who are looking to return to the UK having spent recent years in their home countries should receive assistance, free of charge.


Government Windrush information & Compensation Scheme


For information on the Windrush scheme for Commonwealth citizens and others who have been in the UK for a long time and are worried about their immigration status click here.

Freephone: 0800 678 1925


Windrush Compensation Scheme

You may be able to claim compensation through the Windrush Compensation Scheme if you suffered a loss because you could not demonstrate your lawful right to live in the UK.

The scheme is also open to:

  • children and grandchildren of Commonwealth citizens in certain circumstances
  • the estates of those who are now deceased but who would have otherwise been eligible to claim compensation
  • close family members of eligible claimants where there has been a significant impact on their life or where there is evidence of certain direct financial costs

For more information about the Windrush Compensation Scheme – Click here

Where you can get help or speak to someone confidentially:

Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network

341 Evelyn Street, London, SE8 5QX

Phone 020 8694 6621




Lewisham Deptford MP – Vicky Foxcroft

Contact & Surgery details – Click here 

Lewisham East MP – Janet Daby

Contact & Surgery details – Click here


Lewisham West & Penge MP – Ellie Reeves

Contact & Surgery details – Click here


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