HL Deb 17 September 2003 vol 652 c181WA
Lord Campbell of Croy

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the number of illegal immigrants now in the United Kingdom. [HL4325]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

There is currently no official estimate of the number of immigrants unlawfully present in the United Kingdom. Estimating the numbers entering Britain illegally is difficult because illegal migrants, by definition, fall outside of official statistics. Illegal migrants are motivated to ensure they remain hidden, which is a challenge to conducting research.

The Home Office has commissioned a review of methods used in other countries to estimate the size of their illegal populations. The research was commissioned in order to help to define methods appropriate for the United Kingdom. On the basis of this information and the likely sources of United Kingdom information we will consider our next steps.