Legal expert talks of former military man’s fight to work in UK as ‘Windrush generation’ row escalates

By Wilkin Chapman LLP | Posted: 18 Apr 2018

ONE of the region’s leading immigration solicitors has spoken of his efforts to help a man from the ‘Windrush generation’ to remain in the UK.

And, as he did so, he urged the Government to ensure it did everything possible to sort out the escalating situation, which has hit the national headlines this week.

Calum Hanrahan is a legal immigration expert with the region’s largest law firm, Wilkin Chapman solicitors, and has professional experience of the struggles in which the former ‘Windrush’ children – now adults – must overcome to remain in the UK.

Two years ago, Mr Hanrahan assisted a client who had been contacted by UK immigration regarding his status to work in the country. The situation had flared up when the man lost his job as he could not evidence his right to work in the UK, when requested to by his employer.

“He had arrived in the UK from one of the Caribbean islands with his family back in 1970 and, despite serving in the Armed Forces, this had only just come to light,” explained Mr Hanrahan.

The man was one of the Windrush Generation who arrived between 1948 and 1971 from the Caribbean countries. As reported, the Government is now facing a crisis as it emerges how some of the then-children are facing deportation, as they cannot prove they have the right to remain and work here. In the last few hours the issue has escalated further, as it emerges that the Home Office has destroyed thousands of landing card slip recordings.

Mr Hanrahan said, all told, it took around six months for him to gather the evidence required for his client to remain here and a further five months for UK Visas and Immigration to consider the application. In that time, he was unable to work and had uncertainty hanging over him.

After applying for Home Office Freedom of Information requests and delving into the man’s Armed Forces history, he was eventually granted a ‘no time limit visa’ allowing him to return to work.

“He was contacted by the Immigration Office and it was at that point that he came to me. Fortunately, during the time he was unable to work his partner was able to pay the bills and his employer did keep his job open, but some will not be that fortunate, especially if they remain in a detention centre,” said Mr Hanrahan.

He explained how proof was needed that his client had lived here for 45 years: “Who keeps evidence of their residence in this country over such a lengthy time and while he seemed to remember coming to the country on his own passport, again he could not remember.

“Fortunately, he had served in the armed forces, so we were able to prove his National Insurance and tax records and work from there,” he said.

Of the recent furore, Mr Hanrahan urged the Government to live by its pledge to fast-track applications for people who now find themselves in the same position as his client.

“It has been reported that a dedicated team is being made available to assist in getting the evidence necessary to speed up the process, and many will certainly hope that is the case.”

While individuals can get the necessary proof together themselves, it often proves time-consuming and can cost unnecessary amounts if forms are incomplete or incorrect, said Mr Hanrahan.

“People may try to take matters into their own hands, however one mistake on a form can put them back to square one in what can be a lengthy process,” added Mr Hanrahan.

If you are one of the Windrush Generation affected or simply need further information on any specialist immigration matters, please contact Calum Hanrahan on 01522 515954 or visit wilkinchapman.co.uk.

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