» Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Asylum Seekers

Asked if the Prime Minister thought that it was satisfactory that we "did not have the faintest idea" how many illegal asylum seekers were in the country, the PMOS replied that the reality was that no government had ever been able to say how many illegal immigrants there were. So, in that sense, nothing new was said yesterday. What we did know, however, was that 1000 failed asylum seekers and illegals were now being removed a month. 22% more being removed in 2005/6, compared to the previous year. There were 3500 targeted, intelligence-led operations last year, and if people looked at the figures compared to 1997, the total number of enforced removals in 1997 was 6610, and in 2004, there were 20,370. That gave people an idea of the increasing effectiveness. The PMOS said that of course, this was an area where we were constantly seeking improvements, but whenever the figures were published next week, in terms of the balance between the number of applications and the number being removed, we would see that significant progress had been made.

Asked if that meant that we would never have the number of how many people there were, the PMOS said that by their very nature, if people were illegals, then they were not going to stand up to be counted. That was the reality, but of course, it was not something people were happy with, but it was the fact. In fairness, people should recognise that that had been the case under all governments.

Put that surely we could only know if those figures were meaningful increasingly if there was a ball park idea of what the proportions were, the PMOS said that what there was a measure of was the number of removals that were taking place, and whether that was going up. The answer to this in the end would be biometrics, as it would allow tracking. In terms of the performance, and in terms of removals, people had to recognise that it was improving.
Put that David Roberts had said that there were also 300,000 National Insurance numbers given out without checks to see of they were illegals and was that something that the Prime Minister was comfortable with, the PMOS said that we were always striving for improvements, and to make improvements in the system. The PMOS said that nobody had claimed that this was a situation which had been completely turned around, but what we could say, however, was that it was a lot better than it was.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Search for related news


  1. I thought it was disgraceful that DAvid Cameron said something about "illegal asylum seekers." If you are an asylum seeker, you are not illegal. If I knew so little about the topic I’d be afraid to raise it in conversation, nevermind at Prime Minster’s Questions.

    Comment by Rachael — 17 May 2006 on 4:58 pm | Link
  2. Overstayes, asyulum seekers and all invisible people in the UK are branded – illegal immigrants. The GV can starve them, push them into a life of misery, use them to win the elections,
    call them whatever they want.Why? Because they have no voice and nobody dare to speak for them
    <a href="http://www.skillipedia.com">http://www.skillipedia.com</a&gt;

    Comment by jobs — 16 Nov 2006 on 1:39 pm | Link
  3. Many are legal but not genuine.
    My opinion is based on Kurdish refugees.
    Nowhere is 100% safe and Kurdistan has had many problems and needs to be free.
    However many Kurds in the UK,including my spouse travel there every year (despite being told by home office they cannot) by getting an Iran visa and paying the guards a bribe at the border,maybe some undercover reporters would confirm this for you.
    Many plan to return for good after making enough money here,my other half is Kurdish and so I have an inside view.
    I love Kurdish people and God bless them.
    Free Kurdistan.

    Comment by In the know. — 9 Feb 2007 on 3:24 pm | Link

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