Study says almost a million illegal immigrants living in the UK

A new report issued by a leading UK university estimates that there are 863,000 people living illegally in the UK out of which 604,000 (70%) live in London.>

The report, Practical Measures for Reducing Irregular Migration was written by researchers at the London School of Economics. Its findings are accepted by the UK government. The report says that it believes that the main countries from which illegal residents have come are India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.

In December 2012, the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures which showed that 13% of the UK's population was born outside the UK.

The UK's immigration minister Mark Harper blamed the figure on the previous Labour government of the UK which was in power between 1997 and 2010. 'It's no surprise that after years of uncontrolled immigration, we have a sizeable illegal immigrant population in Britain,' he told reporters. He added 'We are determined to get immigration under control and in the past year, net migration has fallen by a quarter.'

Hard to be exact about the numbers

The LSE report says that it is, by definition, hard to be exact about the numbers involved. Illegal residents comprise those who entered the country illegally and those who have overstayed having entered legally. The authors of the report believe that the majority of illegal residents fall into the latter category.

The report says that the taking of biometric data from immigrants and all those who apply for UK visas has made the task of finding illegal migrants easier. The report also states that between 2004 and 2012, about 10,000 illegal migrants were granted permission to remain in the UK indefinitely based on fourteen years of stay in the UK. This 'fourteen year rule', so called because people who had remained in the UK for fourteen years legally or illegally (or a combination of both legal and illegal residence) could apply for permanent residence, was abolished by the UK government in July 2012.

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