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Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 10 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of failed asylum seekers living in the UK; and if she will make a statement. (248431)

Since the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994 no Government have ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally and that includes unsuccessful 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 2010 over 95 per cent. of non-EEA 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, watch-list checks for all travellers before they arrive or depart from the UK and ID cards for foreign nationals.

The Government’s plans, set out in “Enforcing the Deal” published on 19 June 2008, set a clear goal to target and remove the most harmful people first, working with local authorities and enforcement agencies to shut down the privileges of the UK to those breaking the rules.

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