Closed petition Include Windrush generations in British Nationality Act Remedial Order
The Government should expand the British Nationality Act Remedial Order to cover the Windrush generation and their descendants, as they have historic rights to apply to become British citizens.
The Immigration Act 1971 gave the Windrush Generation rights to live and work in the UK, and secure British citizenship, but many faced difficulties availing themselves of these rights due to the hostile environment that was implemented subsequently. The Government should extend the British Nationality Act Remedial Order to cover the Windrush generation and their descendants, to remove potential barriers from their securing British citizenship.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 1 February 2021
Most members of the Windrush generation and their direct descendants born in the UK are already British citizens or are entitled to register or naturalise as British citizens free of charge.
The Immigration Act 1971 granted indefinite leave to remain to members of the Windrush generation that were settled in the UK on 1 January 1973. This guaranteed in law their right to continue to permanently live and work in this country. Some members of the Windrush generation subsequently had difficulties demonstrating their lawful status, and the Home Secretary has apologised unreservedly to victims and their families for the injustice, hardship and suffering they endured as a result.
The Home Office’s priority has been to ensure that those who have struggled to demonstrate their status are supported to do so. The Windrush Scheme was launched in May 2018, to support members of the Windrush generation and their children to obtain documentation confirming their right to live and work in the UK. The Scheme also allows eligible individuals who are not yet British citizens to apply to register or naturalise as British citizens free of charge. Such individuals are not required to take a Life in the UK test or obtain an English language qualification. To the end of August, the Home Office had provided over 13,300 documents to over 11,500 people confirming their status or British citizenship.
Under most circumstances, UK-born direct descendants of members of the Windrush generation will be British citizens automatically from birth, if born prior to 1 January 1983 or after 1 January 1983 to at least one parent that was settled in the UK at the time of their birth. This can include a parent with indefinite leave to remain granted by the Immigration Act 1971, or a descendant of such a person who also held indefinite leave to remain or was a British citizen.
Due to historic legislation, a child born between 1 January 1983 and 30 June 2006 would only have acquired British citizenship through their father if their parents were married. The law changed on 1 July 2006 to allow a person to acquire citizenship through their father, irrespective of whether their parents were married. This change was not made retrospective, in part because some people born before 1 July 2006 would by then have acquired foreign citizenships. Their entitlement to such citizenships might have been put at risk if they were deemed to have always held British citizenship.
Any person born prior to 1 July 2006, who would have become a British citizen automatically had their parents been married, may choose to register as a British citizen free of charge. The British Nationality Act 1981 (Remedial) Order ensures any individuals in this position may register as British citizens without needing to meet the requirement to be of good character. This includes eligible descendants of members of the Windrush generation. The Government therefore has no plans to extend the order.