UK could have wrongly deported 63 immigrants over Windrush scandal, says minister

Officials are trawling thousands of records to establish how many people were wrongly treated

Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid leaves a Brexit subcommittee meeting at Downing Street in London, Britain, May 2, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The United Kingdom could have wrongly deported up to 63 immigrants of Caribbean origin, it emerged Tuesday, in the latest embarrassing revelation of a mounting scandal that has damaged the reputation of British prime minister Theresa May.

Officials have identified 63 records of people who were deported but may have been entitled to remain in the country under rules applying to migrants and their families invited to settle in the UK to fill labour shortages.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid – whose predecessor Amber Rudd lost her job over the scandal – said the figure could change. The government said last month that it believed no one had been wrongly deported from the group after being branded an illegal immigrant.

"We have found 63 cases where individuals could have entered the UK before 1973 [and were eligible for protection from removal]," Mr Javid told MPs.

"There's something in their record that suggests they could have been in the UK before 1973 ... who have been removed or deported."

The deportees could have been descendants of members of the Windrush generation, named after one of the first ships that brought Caribbean migrants to the UK in 1948, after the Second World War.

The government had tried to portray the scandal as an administrative problem after migrants were unable to produce documentary proof of their status. The UK's opposition claims the crisis was the consequence of a “hostile environment” created by the Home Office when it was headed by Theresa May from 2010 to 2016.

The UK government said it had set up a scheme to compensate people who may have been wrongfully detained, sacked, had their bank accounts closed or lost their homes because of the scandal.