Home Office wrongfully tried to remove Windrush generation grandfather

Date investigation closed: 17 May 2021

Organisations we investigated

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and Immigration Enforcement.

The complaint

Ms V complained to us after her father, a Jamaican who had lived legally in the UK since 1962, was wrongfully threatened with removal from the UK.


Mr V was a Jamaican national who arrived in the UK in May 1962 when he was 19. He had Indefinite leave to enter (ILE) but in 2015 applied to UKVI for a permanent status document called a No time limit (NTL) biometric residence permit.

He was later contacted by Immigration Enforcement, who said he was residing in the UK illegally. They sent him a series of letters threatening to revoke his driving licence and send him to prison.

Despite being able to prove his right to live in the UK, Mr V’s driving licence was revoked and his passport was confiscated.

This had a profound effect on Mr V, who became depressed, anxious and withdrawn. It was also deeply distressing for his daughter and her children.

Mr V was eventually acknowledged as a legal resident of the UK. However, sadly he died in 2019 - less than a year after he was granted citizenship under the Windrush scheme.

What we found

The Ombudsman’s investigation found that Mr V had been a victim of maladministration. He should never have been contacted by Immigration Enforcement, and that UKVI had not put right their failings. They repeatedly asked for documentation which had already been provided, and demanded more evidence than their own guidelines recommend.

Putting it right

In response to the recommendations from Wendy Williams’ Windrush Lessons Learned Review, the Government has already committed to a comprehensive improvement plan. In addition to this, we have recommended that UKVI:

  • examine this case in detail to learn where they made mistakes, and how to make sure they do not happen again - they should report back to us, Ms V, and Parliament with their changes
  • acknowledge the distress they have caused and apologise to Ms V
  • pay Ms V £10,000 in recognition of the severe distress she has suffered over an extended period of time.

Read the full report of our investigation into UK Visas and Immigration’s handling of Windrush man’s status or download the investigation report (PDF 460KB).