Author: DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Illegal immigration into Britain is rising by 70,000 a year, a damning report has claimed.
The figure includes foreigners who have over-stayed visas, failed asylum seekers and migrants who have sneaked into the UK in the back of lorries.
But it does not cover criminals who have escaped deportation. It is believed the total number of illegal immigrants in the country stands at more than a million.
The MigrationWatch think-tank, which produced the new study, said the statistics were a ‘scandal’.
Publicly the Home Office insists it is impossible to give an accurate figure for people living here unlawfully. The last estimate by the department – from 2001 – was 430,000.
However, former Home Office chief David Wood last year admitted Britain was home to more than a million illegal migrants.
MigrationWatch has now used official statistics to calculate the number living under the radar. They may be working in the black economy, not paying taxes and illegally claiming benefits.
Researchers estimated there were 83,600 potential over-stayers a year.
Another 12,850 migrants were thought to be sneaking into Britain hidden in trucks, cars and trains, while 8,500 failed asylum seekers had not left the country.
This meant a total of 104,950 migrants staying in the UK without permission each year.
But only 35,000 on average annually were removed or deported, said MigrationWatch.
The net rise in illegal immigration totals 70,000 a year – a staggering 700,000 over the course of a decade. MigrationWatch acknowledged that the figures were a ‘rough estimate’.
But Lord Green, the group’s chairman, said: ‘The scale of illegal immigration to Britain is a scandal that has gone on for too long.
‘It undermines public acceptance of genuine refugees and is damaging to community relations generally.’
The report recommended a £100million boost to immigration enforcement, a major increase in the size of detention centres and the introduction of identity cards.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We do not recognise the estimate provided by MigrationWatch UK. We are committed to reducing the size of the illegal population.
‘When someone has no leave to remain in the UK, we expect them to leave the country voluntarily. Where they do not, we will seek to enforce their departure.’