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Inward Migration

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

17. To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her estimate is of the number of (a) legal and (b) illegal immigrants arriving in the UK in the last 12 months. (157294)

The latest information on non-EEA nationals granted leave to enter the United Kingdom relates to 2006 and shows that a total of 12.9 million such persons were granted leave to enter the United Kingdom by immigration officers. The majority of these persons, around 94 per cent. (12.1 million), were either: visitors, both ordinary and business; passengers in transit; or passengers returning after a temporary absence abroad.

No Government has ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who have entered the country illegally. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately, and that remains the case.