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Windrush Scheme

Topics covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Windrush Scheme


What to study?

For prelims and mains: Key features of the scheme, issues associated.


Context: UK Home Secretary has issued another personal apology for the Windrush scandal, involving migrants being wrongly denied their British citizenship rights, as a latest official update revealed that hundreds more Indians were caught up in the row.


What is Windrush Scheme?

The Windrush Scheme enables Commonwealth citizens, their children, and some other long term residents of the UK to obtain documentation confirming their status free of charge.


Who is eligible for support under the scheme?

  1. a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 or has right of abode.
  2. a child of a Commonwealth citizen parent who settled before 1 January 1973, where you were born in the UK or arrived in the UK before the age of 18.
  3. a person of any nationality who settled in the UK before 31 December 1988 and is settled in the UK.



The Windrush generation refers to citizens of former British colonies who arrived before 1973, when the rights of such Commonwealth citizens to live and work in Britain were substantially curtailed. 

The name derives from the ship MV Empire Windrush, which on June 22, 1948, docked in Tilbury, Essex, bringing nearly 500 Jamaicans to the UK.

The immigrants came at the invitation of the British government, which was facing a labour shortage due to the destruction caused by World War II.

While a large proportion of them were of Jamaican/Caribbean descent who came on the ship Windrush, Indians and other South Asians were also affected by the UK government’s handling of their immigration status.


What is happening to them?

  • A scandal over the treatment of members of the Windrush generation has been mounting in recent months as a multitude of reports have come out about mostly elderly people being denied services, losing their jobs and even facing deportation. 
  • Many of the Windrush generation had arrived as children on their parents’ passports. And although they have lived in Britain for many decades – paying taxes and insurance – they never formally became British citizens. 
  • Amid the tightening of the immigration rules, an estimated 50,000 long-term UK residents could now be facing problems.


Sources: the Hindu.