A new report issued by a leading UK university estimates that there are 863,000 people living illegally in the UK out of which 604,000 (70%) live in London.
The report, Practical Measures for Reducing Irregular
Migration was written by researchers at the London School of Economics. Its
findings are accepted by the UK government. The report says
that it believes that the main countries from which illegal residents have come
are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.
In December 2012,
the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures which showed that
13% of the UK's population was born outside the UK.
immigration minister Mark Harper blamed the figure on the previous Labour
government of the UK which was in power between 1997 and 2010. 'It's no surprise
that after years of uncontrolled immigration, we have a sizeable illegal
immigrant population in Britain,' he told reporters. He added 'We are determined
to get immigration under control and in the past year, net migration has fallen
by a quarter.'
The LSE report says that it is, by definition, hard to
be exact about the numbers involved. Illegal residents comprise those who
entered the country illegally and those who have overstayed having entered
legally. The authors of the report believe that the majority of illegal
residents fall into the latter category.
The report says that the
taking of biometric data from immigrants and all those who apply for UK visas
has made the task of finding illegal migrants easier. The report also states
that between 2004 and 2012, about 10,000 illegal migrants were granted
permission to remain in the UK indefinitely based on fourteen years of stay in
the UK. This 'fourteen year rule', so called because people who had remained in
the UK for fourteen years legally or illegally (or a combination of both legal
and illegal residence) could apply for permanent residence, was abolished by the
UK government in July 2012.
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