The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sajid Javid) has today (24 May 2018) announced that legislation has been introduced to bring into force a package of measures to assist individuals from the ‘Windrush’ generation, Commonwealth citizens who settled in the UK before 1973.
The new laws will permit UK Visas & Immigration to start processing British citizenship applications for the Windrush generation on a free-of-charge basis. Children of such individuals who joined their parents before they turned 18 will also be able to apply free-of-charge.
As with all naturalistion applications, people applying for citizenship under the scheme will need to meet the ‘good character’ requirement, although they will not need to sit and pass the knowledge of language and life in the UK test or attend a British citizenship ceremony.
Importantly, the government has also confirmed that non-Commonwealth citizens who ‘settled’ in the UK before 1973, as well as people who arrived between 1973 to 1988 and who have an existing right to be in the UK, will not need to pay for the documentation they need to prove their settled status.
The Windrush scheme will be launched on Wednesday 30 May 2018.