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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Britain to consider compensating 'Windrush generation'

Theresa May will consider financial compensation for post-War Caribbean immigrants after the issue overshadowed the Commonwealth meeting

British Prime Minister Theresa May at the final press conference of CHOGM 2018. Getty / Dan Kitwood
British Prime Minister Theresa May at the final press conference of CHOGM 2018. Getty / Dan Kitwood

Britain will consider compensating members of the "Windrush generation" of post-War Caribbean immigrants who may have suffered after being wrongly labelled as illegal entrants, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday.

Thousands of workers from the Caribbean were invited to Britain to plug labour shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, but some of their descendants have been caught up in a tightening of immigration rules.

In some cases they have been denied health services, prevented from working or even threatened with deportation.

"The UK will do whatever it takes, including where appropriate payment of compensation, to resolve the anxieties and problems which some of the Windrush generation have suffered," Mrs May said at the end of a two-day meeting of Commonwealth leaders,

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Caribbean leaders were given an “absolute commitment” earlier this week that “the UK will do whatever it takes including, where appropriate, payment of compensation, to resolve the anxieties and problems that some of the Windrush generation have suffered”, Mrs May said.

“These people are British. They are part of us. They helped to build Britain and we are all the stronger for their contributions.”

Britain has already voiced regret in a letter to the 12 countries involved, the first of whose workers arrived in 1948 on the Empire Windrush ship from Jamaica.

The Commonwealth heads of government meeting in London has been overshadowed by the Windrush issue.

Earlier on Friday, Commonwealth leaders have declared Prince Charles to be the next head of the body after a personal plea from Queen Elizabeth.