Legal advice is not necessary for making immigration applications, the government has said - on the day it published details of how members of the 'Windrush generation' threatened with deportation can claim compensation.
Home secretary Sajid Javid announced details of the Windrush compensation scheme yesterday. Multiple forms and guidance were published on the Home Office website.
Also published yesterday was the Home Office's response to last year's consultation about the scheme, which had asked about scheme eligibility.
Nearly all of the 1,435 respondents said claimants should be able to apply for compensation for legal costs relating to unsuccessful immigration applications.
The government acknowledged that paying for legal advice during the course of making an unsuccessful application represents a loss incurred by the claimants under the compensation scheme.
However, it said: 'The government's position is that obtaining legal advice is not necessary in making an immigration application and that no advantage in the application process should accrue to people who choose to access, are able to afford legal advice, over those who cannot.'
The Home Office says it will reimburse certain associated legal costs incurred with unsuccessful immigration applications. The compensation scheme rules document states that the government will contribute towards legal costs 'limited to the lesser of... the actual amount paid in respect of legal costs, and £500'.
Former home secretary Amber Rudd was criticised last year for suggesting that those fearful about their immigration status did not need to instruct solicitors before calling the Home Office's Windrush helpline.
Barrister Martin Forde QC, of 1 Crown Office Row, advised the Home Office on the scheme's design. He said it was 'built on feedback from affected communities, and their personal stories have been crucial in its design'.