All Home Office staff will be trained on the UK’s “history of migration and race” in efforts to address failings which led to the Windrush scandal.
The move is part of a series of measures set out in an improvement plan which seeks to overhaul the culture of the department so staff are “focused on people” and not cases.
Home Secretary Priti Patel branded it an “unprecedented programme of change” to make the Home Office “fit for the future”.
It comes as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is looking into how the Home Office’s immigration policies have complied with equality laws, suggested the department make a series of improvements including on understanding the effects of policies on ethnic minorities.
Ms Patel said: “I am leading an unprecedented programme of change to build a Home Office fit for the future, that serves every part of the community it serves.
“The Windrush generation have waited too long for justice and my resolve to deliver for them and their descendants is absolute.
“This is the first part of our plan to deliver meaningful change.”
The improvement plan, published on Wednesday, said the department will work with academics to produce a training programme for all Home Office staff, looking at Britain’s colonial history, the history of black Britons and UK migration.
Set to be in place from June, the Home Office has pledged to publish figures on how many staff, including senior civil servants, have completed the training each year.
The document also reiterated Ms Patel’s promise to review the hostile environment policy as recommended by Wendy Williams in the Windrush Lessons Learned Review among 30 other suggestions for improvement.
Ms Patel said the policy must be “strong” but “just”, and promised to fix any problems found.
Meanwhile, her two permanent secretaries will oversee a “major cultural change” by the end of next year and there will also be more training for senior officials on advising ministers.
The plan also includes a review of the role of watchdog the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.
Ms Williams’ scathing report found the scandal was “foreseeable and avoidable”, and victims were let down by “systemic operational failings” at the Home Office.
The Government department demonstrated “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness” towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation, Ms Williams found.
Ms Patel later said the review had been “just a tiny fraction away” from branding the Home Office “institutionally racist”.
Introduced in 2012, then home secretary Theresa May’s hostile environment policy tried to make staying in the UK as difficult as possible for people who do not have leave to remain in the hope they will depart the country on their own accord.
But 2018 ministers were facing a furious backlash over the treatment of the Windrush generation – named after a ship that brought migrants to Britain from the Caribbean in 1948.
Commonwealth citizens who arrived before 1973 were automatically granted indefinite leave to remain.
But some were later challenged over their immigration status, despite living in the UK legally for decades.
More than 11,500 people have now been given over 13,300 documents to confirm their immigration status – fewer than first thought after the Home Office admitted double counting the number of people and the number of documents provided in error.
Some 1,531 compensation claims have been made over the scandal, including 65 for people who have already died. Just 168 people have received payouts so far totalling £1,343,408.43, according to department figures to the end of August.
Windrush victim Michael Braithwaite branded the amount paid out as “paltry”, adding that campaigners “will not rest until the hostile environment policies which destroyed their lives are scrapped”.
Sonya Sceats, chief executive of charity Freedom from Torture, said parts of the plan were “laudable” but justice for Windrush victims “will not be fully served until the hostile environment is scrapped and the virulent anti-migrant politics that drove its creation is rooted out once and for all.”
Ms Williams urged the department to “act swiftly to open itself up to greater external scrutiny and to implement wide-ranging cultural change.”
She said the plan was “comprehensive and ambitious in many respects” but warned some elements, like the appointment of a migrants’ commissioner require “greater clarity and pace if the department is to be successful in its aim to rebuild public trust”.
Ms Williams will review the progress the department has made after a year.