In his first appearance before a Commons committee since becoming Home Secretary, Mr Javid said Home Office officials were urgently trying to establish how many Windrush immigrants may have been deported from the UK, and how many of them were wrongly removed.
The cases are now being investigated in detail, with officials trawling through 8,000 records dating back to 2002 following fears that people who had been in the country lawfully for decades may have been forced to leave.
Mr Javid told the Home Affairs Select Committee that the exercise has so far found 63 people who may have arrived in the UK from the Caribbean before 1973 and have been removed or deported.
Of this number, 32 have been convicted of a crime, while 31 had been subject to “administrative” removals for an unspecified other reason.
The Home Secretary emphasised that the figures are not final and are subject to change.
He said: “I’ve asked officials to be absolutely certain and thorough and check over every record and make sure.”
Mr Javid added: “So far we have found – and I would preface these are not final numbers, they are subject to change because the work is still ongoing – we have found 63 cases where individuals could have entered the UK before 1973, so these are Caribbean Commonwealth [citizens], who could have entered before 1973.
“The reason we use the word ‘could’ – it means of the 8,000 records that came up of deportation removals there’s so far a focus on the 63 where there’s something in their records that indicates they could have been in the UK before 73 who have been removed or deported.”
According to a letter sent to MPs on the committee by Home Office permanent Secretary Sir Philip Rutnam, there have been 17 cases where deported Windrush immigrants have returned to the UK since 2015.
Of these, five have since been found to have no legal status and nine cases are still under examination, while three have established their right to be in the UK.
Mr Rutnam’s letter also reveals that a helpline set up to resolve Windrush generation cases has so far received 11,500 calls.
From that number, over 4,482 individuals have been referred to Home Office caseworkers, resulting in over 1,482 appointments being booked. So far, 526 people have been issued documents confirming their legal right to live in the UK.