Windrush Victims Not Compensated Quickly Enough, U.K. Body Says

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Victims of the U.K.’s Windrush scandal are encountering severe delays applying for compensation awarded in response to harm inflicted by immigration policies, according to a report by the government accounting watchdog.

Only 38% of claimants, who came to the U.K. to fill Britain’s post-war labor shortage and were later mistreated, have received a final decision in the Home Office compensation program, the National Audit Office said. It takes on average 154 hours to process an application, about five times longer than originally estimated by the Home Office, according to the report.

Thousands of members of the so-called Windrush generation were found in 2018 to have been wrongly mistreated by a government policy aimed at clamping down on illegal immigration. Measures required them to demonstrate their lawful status to access public services, and many were unable to do so.

Two years after the program was launched “people are still facing long waits to receive their final compensation payment,” said Gareth Davies, head of the NAO. “The Home Office has made some progress, but it needs to sustain its efforts to improve the scheme.”

The compensation program offers a 10,000 pound ($14,000) preliminary payment to anyone who can demonstrate mistreatment. More than 26 million pounds has been offered so far and 14 million pounds has been paid out, a Home Office spokesman said by email.

The program was overhauled in December following complaints over delays and “we are now seeing the positive impact of those changes,” the spokesman said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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