Windrush Generation: Who Are They and Why Are They Facing Problems?

Windrush generation

If you’ve been watching the news of late, especially in the UK, then you will have heard news of a group of people who are being targeted by the government. We’re not talking any specific religion or creed, but that of Commonwealth citizens from the Caribbean.

Citizens of the British Empire who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971 have been labelled the Windrush generation – in reference the ship MV Empire Windrush- the ship brought workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and other islands as a direct result of a labour shortage in the UK. Rebuilding the country after WWII was a monumental task, and every pair of hands helped greatly.

Many of the children who arrived in the UK travelled on their parents’ passports. After 50 years of living in the UK, many do not and never applied for a British passport. This later became a problem as changes in immigration law in 2012 meant that documentation was required to have access to work, rent a property, receive benefits, obtain healthcare, have meany to be fearful.

It is important to note that the Windrush generation are legal residents by their birthright and through extension of being born in a colony of the British Empire. Their stay in the UK, either work, schooling or any other activity is wholly legal. The mistake (deliberate or otherwise) by the Home Office to deport them back to the Caribbean has angered many, those from the left and right of the political spectrum.

More information can be found out about them here.

Ideas to think about

  1. Has the Home Office become overly aggressive with immigration targets?
  2. Has UK society changed? Is it more hostile to foreigners?
  3. Do you think this is an honest mistake? If so why?
  4. Have the public in the UK forgotten the past and the contribution of Commonwealth citizens?
  5. If you had to solve this issue what would you do? How would it be conducted?

Vocabulary Questions

Match the words on the left-hand side with the meanings on the right

Vocab Meaning
 Commonwealth  An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.
 The Caribbean  The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
 Windrush Generation  The expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. The term expulsion is often used as a synonym for deportation, through expulsion is more often used in the context
 Paperwork People or descendants of those who came to rebuild Britain after WWII from the Carribean. They are citizens of the Empire and through extension British citizens without exception.
 Home Office  Permanent residency (PR) is an immigration status granted to a person who does not hold the right of abode in the United Kingdom (UK), but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on his or her stay and who is free to take up employment or study, without restriction.
Deport Offical documents and perhaps qualifications to prove who you are.
Indefinite Leave to Remain The Home Office is a ministerial department of Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for immigration, security and law and order.
Tragedy An intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.

How did you do? If you think you got a few wrong then check your answers below, click the orange button to reveal the answers.

Vocabulary Answers

Vocab Meaning
 Commonwealth  An intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.
 The Caribbean The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
 Windrush Generation People or descendants of those who came to rebuild Britain after WWII from the Carribean. They are citizens of the Empire and through extension British citizens without exception.
Paperwork Offical documents and perhaps qualifications to prove who you are.
Home Office The Home Office is a ministerial department of Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for immigration, security and law and order.
Deport The expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country. The term expulsion is often used as a synonym for deportation, through expulsion is more often used in the context
Indefinite Leave to Remain Permanent residency (PR) is an immigration status granted to a person who does not hold the right of abode in the United Kingdom (UK), but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on his or her stay and who is free to take up employment or study, without restriction.
Tragedy An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.

 

The Windrush Generation video discussion

The video below was created by Channel 4, a UK broadcasting company which is dedicated to providing a diverse and niche programmes for everyone. They recently produced a piece on the subject on Channel 4 News which summarises the key issues and concerns in this case.

Before watching the video have a look at these questions and guess the answers. Don’t worry if you don’t know, but try to speculate and think creatively for the answers.

Video questions:

  1. Where people of the Windrush Generation legally staying in the UK?
  2. How many people came to the UK from the Caribbean?
  3. Were they invited by the UK government?
  4. How does Micheal Braithwaite feel about his situation?
  5. Who created the laws which affected British citizens?
  6. When did Anthony Bryan arrive in the UK and at what age?
  7. Did the government keep a record of who stayed and who left?
  8. Has the government apologised?

  1. Yes, they were legal residents of the UK, but lacked the paperwork demanded by the government.
  2. Roughly half a million
  3. Yes, they were
  4. He feels like an alien and has no status
  5. Theresa May (Former Home Secretary and later Prime Minister)
  6. 1965 at 7 years old
  7. No, no records were kept by the government
  8. Yes, to the people affected and to leaders of Caribbean nations

 

Potential debate topics

  1. The Windrush Generation should be deported as they do not have the required documentation.
  2. The UK government’s immigration strategy is unrealistic and unlikely to work.
  3. The Conservative government is a racist organisation and needs reform.
  4. The UK is suffering from a growing population and it needs to be tackled.
  5. Immigration to the UK is a net positive for the economy and so, must be continued.
  6. The UK economy is over-reliant on overseas labour.

Conclusion

So how do you feel about this situation? It’s pretty amazing, as a Brit myself, to think that the UK government is willing to deport its own citizens. The actions of the government has been fiercely criticized, with many newspapers and prominent figures have voiced their concern over the affair.

Over to you

The idea of creating a fair and balanced immigration system is the goal for many governments around the world. Imagine you work for a government department and are tasked with creating an immigration system for the UK or other western countries. What rules would you apply? How will you determine who can come in or who should be removed? How much do you think this will cost? Try to be realistic with your planning. Present your ideas to the group when you have finished.

Allow others to question your ideas and give you feedback on your proposal.

 

 

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