The Government launched a compensation scheme for individuals who have suffered loss because they were not able to prove their lawful right to be in the UK.

The scheme covers Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK before 1 January 1973, and anyone with a right of abode or settled status who arrived to live in the UK before 31 December 1988. It also covers children and grandchildren of Commonwealth citizens in certain circumstances, estates of those individuals who would be entitled to claim but are now deceased, and close family members where they have been significantly or directly affected.

The scheme covers losses related to many areas of life, including employment, immigration fees, detention and removal, housing, health, and education. The scheme will also consider the impact on daily life with compensation awarded according to a scale and depending on how severe and long lasting the impact was on areas of the individual’s life.

Claims need to be made on the published application form, available here. Applicants are required to submit as much evidence as possible to support their claim, and also to show the efforts they have made in order to confirm their status in the UK.

The length and complexity of the forms and guidance have meant that the scheme has come in for heavy criticism. In addition, the evidential requirement places many people at a huge disadvantage as their struggle to obtain employment, bank accounts, housing, etc. could go back decades and wouldn’t necessarily be covered by paperwork. Applicants will also find it difficult to prove their efforts in contacting the Home Office to try and clarify their status in the UK.

Whilst it is good that the government is acknowledging that people should be compensated for the hardship they have suffered because of various immigration policies, the scheme seems heavily weighted against applicants.

At Farleys we are happy to review your compensation form, free of charge, and give you any tips on how to improve it. If you would like more formal assistance, we can talk to you about how we can help. Please call 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.