The “Windrush Generation” – There should be plenty of evidence to show residence in the UK

Robert Henderson

Much is being made of  the plight of  immigrants  resident in the UK before the 1971 Immigration Act (commonly referred to as  the Windrush generation) who are  being required to provide evidence of their long-term residence in Britain to avoid being treated as aliens.

How difficult can it be to collect  such evidence ? Consider the many possibilities for doing so:

Educational records from nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools,  universities and their ilk, evening classes and vocational training.

Medical records from GPs to hospitals.

Work records, especially those from public employments, substantial companies and  not-for-profit agencies such as charities.

Volunteer work.

Benefit records.

Tax records.

Vehicle records such those held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Utility bills such  as those for energy, water and the telephone. 

Bank and building society accounts.

Mortgages.

Rent records

Loans. 

Hire purchase.

Credit card accounts.  

Police and CPS records ranging from reports of crimes in which the person is the victim, reports of crime which have led to the person being investigated as a suspect  but not convicted of a crime and criminal records acquired by the person. 

Reports in the media about the person.

Membership of clubs or other groups which have a formal membership requirement. 

If there is any difficulty in getting an organisation  the person thinks  is  holding the data they require,  there is a simple process which will force them supply it if it exists. This is known as a subject access request which is made under the Data Protection Act. A lawyer is not needed to do this so the cost is minimal, perhaps £10.

Anyone who has lived in the UK for most or all of the past 50 or 60 years really should not have that much difficulty providing multiple proofs of residence.

If these types of check are not made  and the word of the person involved is simply taken as all the  proof needed,  the regularisation of the status of genuine long-term residents without citizenship would be open to straightforward abuse. Anyone who was of the right age could simply claim that they had been in the UK over the relevant period and gain a permanent right to remain.

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