Extent, commencement and short title

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 28th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 3:00 pm, 28th February 2019

I thank the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton for his explanation of the amendments. I will take each one in turn.

Amendment 16 seeks a further debate on the issue of Windrush. It is absolutely right that we deliver on our promise to the people of the UK and legislate to end free movement. It is, further, right that in implementing a future system we must learn the lessons of Windrush. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that that is a crucial point, and that is why, as highlighted on Second Reading, the Government have put in place a number of measures to address it. However, as I have said, we have made a commitment to end free movement and the core purpose of the Bill is to deliver on that purpose. The amendment would put conditions on its implementation, and that is unacceptable. It would have the effect of hindering the Government in that objective, which stems from the EU referendum outcome.

It is essential that the Government can implement change as soon as is practically possible following the UK’s exit from the EU. Part of that change is already in train through the EU settlement scheme. We have been clear that securing the rights of EEA citizens has always been our priority, and we have delivered on that commitment through the implementation of the scheme.

We know that some members of the Windrush generation became caught up in measures intended to tackle illegal migration, because they did not hold the documentation necessary to demonstrate that they could access the benefits and services to which they were entitled. To remedy that, a taskforce was established last April to provide support to members of the Windrush generation who needed documentation to prove their status. The taskforce has issued documentation to more than 2,400 people, who can now demonstrate their right to live in the UK. A further 610 people have subsequently been supported through the Windrush scheme application process. More than 3,400 people have successfully applied for British citizenship under the Windrush scheme.

The Home Office has taken a number of other significant steps to right the wrongs experienced by some members of the Windrush generation. Those steps include the compensation scheme, the details of which have been consulted upon; the result will be announced shortly. In addition, we have commissioned an independent lessons learned review, which has contacted a wide variety of religious and community groups for their input. The review will consider what were the key policy and operational decisions that led to members of the Windrush generation becoming entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants; what other factors played a part; why the issues were not identified sooner; what lessons the organisation can learn to ensure that it does things differently in future; whether adequate corrective measures are now in place; and an assessment of the initial impact of those measures.

We are committed to taking into account the outcome of the review in designing the future borders and immigration system. The Department is also conducting a review of historical cases, and has therefore already committed significant resources to this work.