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Illegal Immigrants

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many suspected illegal immigrants have been apprehended in British waters as a result of boarding inspections carried out by boats used by (a) the UK Border Agency and (b) other agencies in each year since 1997. (220117)

The information requested could be obtained only by the detailed examination of individual records at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many known overstayers (a) were deported, (b) were removed, (c) left of their own accord and (d) had no action taken against them in the last 12 months. (223415)

[holding answer 10 September 2008]: The information requested on known overstayers could be obtained only by the detailed examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost. No Government have ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally. 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 December.2008 the majority of foreign nationals will be counted in and out of the country. 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.

On 19 June 2008, the Government set out its plans to more robustly enforce the immigration rules including the removal of those not entitled to be here. Copies of the document are placed in the Library of the House. It is also available to view at:

http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/?requestType=form&view=Search+results&simpleOrAdvanced =simple&page=1&contentType=All&searchTerm=enforcing+the+deal &Submit=Go