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Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the number of failed asylum seekers in the UK. (200546)

Since the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994, no Government has been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally and that includes failed asylum seekers. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately and that remains the case.

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 is part of a very wide ranging 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.