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Illegal Immigrants

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the effectiveness of measures to remove illegal immigrants from the UK. (275896)

[holding answer 15 May 2009]: The UK Border Agency is continuing in its large-scale modernisation programme to improve the effectiveness of its border and immigration control. These include increasing the security of our borders through the e-Borders system; starting the roll-out of local immigration teams; and introducing a new system of civil penalties for those employing illegal migrant workers—changes which are designed to make the UK harder to enter illegally, harder to stay in illegally, and less attractive to potential illegal migrants in the first place.

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons removed and departed voluntarily from the UK, on a quarterly and annual basis. National Statistics on immigration and asylum are placed in the Library of the House and are available from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:

In 2008, these published statistics show that 66,275 people were removed or departed voluntarily from the UK, an increase of 5 per cent. from 2007 (63,365). In addition, the UK Border Agency deported nearly 5,400 foreign criminals, a record performance.

This is evidence that the UK Border Agency is succeeding in its commitment to removing individuals with no right to be here—with a focus on targeting the most harmful first.