HC Deb 08 June 2004 vol 422 c318W
Mr. Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of people from EU accession countries living and working in the UK; and how many of those he estimates are working illegally. [161816]

Mr. Browne

During the period September to November 2003, an estimated 113,000 nationals of the 10 EU accession countries were resident in the United Kingdom. Of these, 51,000 were in employment, 48,000 were economically inactive, 10,000 were aged under 16 and less than 10,000 were ILO unemployed.

Official estimates of the size of the illegally working migrant population in the United Kingdom do not exist. The Government have commissioned research into the methods used in other countries to estimate the size of their illegal populations (illegal workers forming part of this population) in order to define methods appropriate for the UK. Further research is also planned to investigate illegal working in order to help the Government tackle problem more effectively.

The work required is challenging because, by definition, illegal migrants fall outside of official statistics and are therefore difficult to measure. People illegally present in the UK are also motivated to ensure they remain hidden, which is a challenge to conducting research.