HC Deb 10 November 2000 vol 356 cc423-4W
Mr. Prior

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the number of people who have entered the United Kingdom illegally since 1970. [137817]

Mrs. Roche

There is no estimate of the total number of persons who enter the country illegally since, by the very nature of the problem, it is not possible to establish that a person is here illegally until they have been traced and interviewed.

Information is available only on people who have been detected and served with papers as illegal entrants. This information is available from 1973.

The total number of persons detected and served with papers as illegal entrants between January 1973 and September 2000 is just over 150,000.

A more detailed breakdown of this figure for 1989–99 can be found in Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1999, a copy of which is held in the Library. Information on the first half of 2000 is due to be published on 30 November in a Home Office bulletin, a copy of which will also be placed in the Library.