Illegal immigrant numbers higher than official estimates

08:01 by Editor · 0 Post a comment on AAWR

There are nearly three quarters of a million illegal immigrants in Britain, research has suggested.

A study by the London School of Economics suggests that the number of people living in the UK without permission is much higher than previously thought.

The last official estimate of illegal immigration, a Home Office report in 2001, put the figure at 430,000.

Because of the nature of illegal immigration, accurately charting numbers is difficult. The LSE team said the figure lies somewhere between 524,000 and 947,000, with a "midpoint" figure of 725,000.

The LSE study was commissioned by Boris Johnson,the Mayor of London, who is advocating a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, something both the Government and the Conservative Party leadership oppose.

Many illegal immigrants work without paying taxes. Mr Johnson said that it is not realistic to try to find and expel all illegal immigrants, so it is better to try to bring them into the system and make them pay taxes.

"What I am trying to get people to recognise is that there are limits to what the policy to expulsions is able to achieve at the moment. Failing that, and it is failing, we need to think of a better alternative," Mr Johnson told the BBC.

"If people are going to be here and we've chronically failed to kick them out it's morally right that they should contribute in their taxes to the rest of society."

He said that illegal immigrants would have to meet "tough" criteria before being made legal. No one with a criminal record would be eligible, and applicants would have to show they were able to support themselves and their family, and to demonstrate a long-term commitment to British society.

Mr Johnson is the most senior politician to support an amnesty, which has also been backed by trade unions and Church of England bishops.

But Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, rejected the "earned amnesty" plan, saying it would only lead to more illegal immigration.  continues here

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