Minister unable to give answer to central question...


March 04, 2003

In evidence today to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Beverley Hughes, the Minister in charge of asylum and immigration, was unable to say how many asylum seekers remained in Britain after being refused permission to stay here over the past five years.

'Our estimate is that they number approaching 250,000,' said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of think-tank, Migrationwatchuk.

'These are of course the ones who go through the system - they take no account of many thousands of others who do not,' he said.

He said the group based its numbers on the following Home Office statistics:

Numbers of applicants 1998 - 2002
  375,850
Less those granted asylum or ELR
  143,572
Less those removed
  43,330
Sub total:
188,948
Add 30% for dependants
  56,684
TOTAL:
245,632

'Ms Hughes claims that an unknown number return home of their own accord without notifying the Home Office, but they have no evidence to support this contention.

'Without an effective and swift removals mechanism the whole system is rendered pointless,' said Sir Andrew.

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