Windrush generation: National Archives passenger lists could help immigrants prove UK entry

Alexandra Richards
22nd June 1948: The ex-troopship 'Empire Windrush' arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain: Getty Images

National Archives records of thousands of people who arrived in the UK as part of the so-called Windrush generation could provide evidence for those struggling to prove that they have been living in Britain legally.

Details from arrivals into the UK, including name, birth date, and details of the journey taken were all recorded on passenger lists drawn up for the Board of Trade between 1878 and 1960.

These records - which are filed in nearly 1,500 boxes at the National Archives - could include those who came to Britain from the Caribbean by ship.

Recent restrictions in immigration law require people to have paperwork proof of near-continuous residence in the UK.

Some of the first immigrants from the Caribbean island of Jamaica arrive at Tilbury, London, on board the

Many of those in the Windrush generation lack these records, having never applied for British citizenship or passports, and are now struggling to prove they are here legally.

However, it has emerged that thousands of landing card slips recording the arrival of Windrush-era immigrants were destroyed by the Home Office in 2009.

These records could help those looking to support claims of their arrival on British shores.

It comes as more stories from those affected by the issue have come to light.

Gretel Gorcan, 81, is reported to have been denied re-entry into the UK after going to her native Jamaica for a funeral.

Mrs Gorcan told the Daily Mirror she has been stuck in the Caribbean since 2009, having been told she needs a visa to return to the UK.

She told the paper: "I travelled to Britain to help out on the promise of a new life but now they have turned their back on me.

"My children are still in London but I am left here. It is not how I wanted to live my final years."

The Home Office told the Mirror they are urgently reviewing cases.

Meanwhile, the Government is to make compensation payments to members of the Windrush generation who suffered as a result of official challenges to their migration status.

Jamaican immigrants arriving at Tibury Docks in Essex, 22 June 1948 (SSPL via Getty Images)

Downing Street declined to give details of the compensation scheme, saying only they would be announced "shortly" by the Home Office.

It is thought likely that payments will go beyond the reimbursement of legal bills and include a recognition of the anxiety caused to long-standing Commonwealth residents of the UK whose right to be in the country was questioned.