Public gives thumbs down to amnesty for illegal immigrants New study shows amnesty would cost up to £4 billion a year


December 10, 2008

Seven out of ten adults disagree that there should be an amnesty for illegal immigrants, a new YouGov poll has found. The research, commissioned by Migrationwatch UK, found that only one in ten people agree with the idea. In London, the poll found that 64 per cent opposed an amnesty. Just one in six Londoners supported the idea of an amnesty, which was recently proposed by Mayor Boris Johnson; only one in twenty strongly agreed.

The poll was published along with new research, which shows that an amnesty for illegal immigrants, or “undocumented workers” would cost £2 billion in its first full year of operation. As those concerned married and had families, the costs could rise to £4 billion a year.

Those granted an amnesty would be immediately entitled to apply for social housing, adding at least half a million to the waiting list (which is already over 1.5 million for England alone). They would also be entitled to bring over their families, thus moving up the queue which is largely based on “need”. Meanwhile they would be entitled to Housing Benefit which is included in this calculation.

Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch UK, said:

“Clearly the British public can see that to reward people with a meal ticket for life for breaking our laws is an absurd proposition. It will only encourage others to come and take their place in the hope of a further amnesty. That is exactly what has happened in Italy which has granted five amnesties in the past twenty years and Spain which has granted six.

“Claims of “a huge increase in tax revenues” are ludicrous when benefit payments are taken into account. So proponents of an amnesty are left only with their claim to be advancing the cause of social justice. However, the real victims are British workers whose wages are held down or perhaps their job opportunities taken by people who came or remained here illegally of their own volition.

“As we enter a recession, competition for work by illegal immigrants should be reduced, not encouraged. The government and Opposition are absolutely right to oppose this ill-considered scheme. The only amnesty worth considering is an amnesty on departure – allowing people already here illegally to leave within a defined window without fear of arrest for immigration offences.”

Notes to Editors

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2062 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th - 28th November 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

2. The full poll results are set out in the attached Excel spreadsheet.

3. A paper entitled “The financial case against an amnesty for illegal immigrants” is also attached. It is self explanatory.

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