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14 March 2024

Are you eligible for compensation under the Windrush Compensation scheme?

3 mins

On 6 March 2024, the UK Government released a factsheet for the compensation scheme, in which it is stated that the Government are ‘determined to put right the terrible injustices faced by some people from the Windrush generation and the wider Commonwealth.’

Set out below is a breakdown from this factsheet and a brief background to the scheme.


Individuals who migrated to the UK from Commonwealth countries between 1948 and 1973 are known as the Windrush generation. This name comes from the one of the first ships ‘Empire Windrush’ that brought in workers from the Caribbean islands to the UK in 1948. The British Nationality Act 1974 gave citizens of the UK and colonies the right to live and work in the UK. Many know of the ‘Windrush scandal’ which came to light in 2018, where many individuals of the Windrush generation faced removal from the UK, despite their legal right to live, work and access services in the UK.

Windrush scheme

Following the outrage from the Windrush scandal, the Windrush scheme was launched in May 2018, which aimed to provide free documentation to members of the Windrush generation, which proves their right to live and work in the UK.

To be eligible under this scheme, an individual must either:

  • have come to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973; OR
  • be the child of parents who came to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973; OR
  • have come to the UK from any country before 31 December 1988 and now settled in the UK.

There is no deadline to making this application, and details of how to apply are linked here.

Windrush compensation scheme

In April 2019, the UK government launched the Windrush compensation scheme. This scheme is aimed to provide financial compensation to eligible individuals who suffered difficulties as a result of not being able to prove their legal right to reside and work in the UK.

To meet the criteria of the compensation scheme, an individual must either meet the same criteria as above for the Windrush scheme or be:

  • a close family member of an eligible individual who has experienced significant loss themselves; OR
  • a representative of a deceased individual who would have been eligible for compensation.

The government website sets out the categories of losses that individuals can apply for (it can be more than one):

  • employment
  • immigration fees
  • housing
  • health
  • education
  • driving licences
  • banking
  • daily life – for example, you missed major family events or could not travel
  • detention and removal
  • living costs – for example, rent, utilities, contributions towards food and household essentials, travel and prescription fees.

Individuals should receive a payment of £10,000 as soon as they are deemed eligible by the government. This is an early payment whilst the application is fully considered and individuals may be eligible for a payment of up to £100,000.

You can apply using the forms in this link. There is currently no deadline to making this application, however we would recommend applying as soon as you think you meet the requirements.

There is also a free phone number for the Home Office Windrush Help Team which is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Telephone: 0800 678 1925.

For more information on our Immigration services, please visit our page here.

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