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Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers were recorded as having made a claim for asylum to a police constable in each of the last five years, broken down by police area. (196675)

The information requested is not collated centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her latest estimate is of the number of failed asylum seekers who are resident in the UK. (196698)

No Government have ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally and this includes failed asylum seekers. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately and that remains the case.

Exit controls were phased out from 1994. As part of the Government’s 10-point plan for delivery, by Christmas 2008 the majority of foreign nationals will be counted in and out of the country. This will build on the successes of our early testing of the e-Borders programme (Project Semaphore) which already covers over 30 million passenger movements and has led to 18,000 alerts and more than 1,500 arrests.

This is part of a sweeping programme of border protection which also includes the global roll-out of fingerprint visas, compulsory watch-list checks for all travellers from high-risk countries before they land in Britain and ID cards for foreign nationals.