WE have all been reading about the Windrush Generation – the children of immigrants who arrived in the UK before 1971 and travelled on their parents’ passports. They have fallen victim to rule changes in 2012. Their landing cards were destroyed in 2010 and those who have never applied for travel documents were classed as illegal immigrants.
Albert Thompson (63), who came to Britain as a child, was evicted from his home and asked to pay £54,000 towards his NHS cancer treatment. The UK Government have now backed down and granted them formal status without having to pay naturalisation fees or pass any tests.
But what of Jersey’s equivalent of the Windrush Generation? The thousands of non-Jersey-born pensioners who will be questioned on their right to reside in Jersey should their partner die, or they move house. Most are probably oblivious to the potential problem. Like the Windrush Generation they have become victims of both a law change and the fact that the government destroyed records – in this case the Social Security Department destroyed pre-1991 computer records. If you took time off to bring up your children, and there are gaps in your employment history, you need to act.
A woman, who came to Jersey in 1964 and took time off to raise her two daughters was only given an ‘entitled to work’ card because of gaps in her employment history. A man was told by Social Security that his wife, who arrived in 1980, married him, a Jerseyman, in 1983 and had two children, was told by Social Security that his wife may not be able to continue to live in Jersey if he died.
The introduction of the 30-year rule, which now enables non-Jersey-born people who arrived in Jersey as adults to gain ‘Permanent Entitled’ status after 30 years continuous residence is the cause of the problem. The law change was positive inasmuch as previously the opportunity for these people to gain permanent status did not exist.
So whether you’re aged 50 or 100 I recommend that you get your ‘Permanent’ status confirmed by Social Security while you are able, especially if you took time off for parenting. And if you have been here for over 30 years, and have been fobbed off with an ‘Entitled to Work’ card, take it back and get the correct ‘Permanent’ card that you are entitled to. Don’t become a victim of Jersey’s Windrush.