Windrush descendants lose high court fight to expand scheme

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: M Sobreira/Alamy</span>
Photograph: M Sobreira/Alamy

Four Windrush generation descendants have lost their high court battle for the scheme for victims to be widened to include them.

Yvonne Williams, Yvonne Smith, Jennifer Ulett-Hall and Damian Gabrielle argued in the high court that the Windrush scheme should be extended beyond its current parameters to include descendants of the Windrush generation such as them.

The current rules state that children who arrived as adults over the age of 18 after 1988 are excluded from the scheme. This group do not have a path to citizenship through the Windrush scheme even if they have been resident in the UK for many years.

All four made applications to the Windrush scheme, which were rejected. Reviews of the rejection decisions were also unsuccessful. All are at risk of removal from the UK as they are not eligible to remain here under the Windrush scheme. They plan to submit ordinary (non-Windrush) applications for leave to remain under the immigration rules.

All four have Windrush families who they came to the UK to join. The three women in the case are all grandmothers.

Lawyers for Gabrielle, 39, who arrived in the UK two months after his 18th birthday to join his father, argued it was because of the problems his father experienced due to Windrush generation discrimination that he was unable to bring Gabrielle to the UK to join him until after his 18th birthday. His father came to the UK in 1961 and has lived here continuously since then.

Smith and Williams were detained in Yarls Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire for several months because the Home Office planned to deport them to Jamaica.

Grace Brown, counsel for the four claimants, said discretion should be exercised based on the individual facts of the group, who arrived in the UK over the age of 18 to join Windrush generation family members.

But Edward Brown, counsel for the home secretary, argued that none of the claimants fell within any of the Windrush categories and that they had not suffered the injustices of the Windrush generation.

Mrs Justice Ellenbogen rejected the judicial review application made by the four and said none of the proposed grounds of challenge were arguable.

Gabrielle said: “I am absolutely devastated by today’s decision. Most of my adult life has been in limbo. For me, the UK is my home. It’s where my mum, dad, brothers, sisters and extended family all live. I thought that today would have given me – and other Windrush descendants who are in a similar predicament – hope. But that has been taken away from us.”

Karen Doyle of Movement For Justice, which has campaigned for inclusion of Windrush descendants in the Windrush scheme, said: “The damage done to the Windrush generation was not just to the individuals. It was damage done to whole families separated across borders. Families who came to rebuild Britain and were subject to brutal discrimination and racism. Many had to leave children behind they would otherwise have brought.

“Reuniting and offering security to those families now in the wake of the Windrush scandal would have been putting the government’s apologies into action. Yet this government continues to fail the Windrush generation and their families at every stage. We are deeply disappointed in this decision but will continue to fight for the recognition and status of Windrush descendants.”

The Home Office has been approached.

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