Clarification on illegal immigrant numbers

Following attacks on Ms Collins for saying the UK did not have secure borders and illegal immigrants still enter the UK, we have provided statistical evidence.


With regards to the comments made that hundreds of illegal immigrants enter the UK each week, this is based on comments from Border Agency staff, figures from Migration Watch and comments from the police as well as conversations had with those in the transport industry, people traffickers, trafficked people and the chief of the Port of Calais.

Mrs Collins also referred to a story which appeared in the Daily Express where five Iranian illegal immigrans were caught and arrested by Sussex Police but then let go and told to 'report regularly' by the Border Agency. 

The express also reported official Home Office statistics which showed 84,088 people were caught trying to sneak into Britain at border controls on the continent last year, a rate of one every six minutes. In an interview with the newapaper, the former chief executive of the UK border agency said Rob Whiteman said:

“I would have thought the number caught is at best half the number trying to get in. It’s not unreasonable to assume the number detected is only a proportion of the total number trying." 

Estimates of Illegal Immigrants in the UK

The really concerning issue is that neither the Home Office nor Office for National Statistics bother to try to collate figures on this important matter. However, there are some ball park figures of numbers of illegal migrants in the country of between 471,000 to 1.1 million.

Research by the LSE in 2007, based on Home Office research in 2005 estimated the number of illegal immigrants to be between 417,000 and 863,000 according to Full Fact when it tried to estimate the number of illegal migrants - Why we can't say for sure how many illegal immigrants are living in the UK.

Migration Watch estimates that the illegal migrant population is 1.1 million. (Migration Watch UK | MW190 : The Illegal Migrant Population in the UK)

BBC Freedom of Information Act Request - People Arrested in UK
Whilst it does not show the number of illegal immigrants who entered the country the BBC secured the following information under a Freedom of Information Act request in August 2016. This showed the number of "arrests for illegal entry" into the UK from 39 Police forces who returned information - others did not. The total arrests were 27,800 from January 2013 to the start of April 2016. [So, we can calculate the average by weeks in that period = 27800/169 weeks = 165 people per week.]

There is some breakdown. Illegal UK entry arrests surpass 27,000 in three years. These were the numbers of illegal immigrants ARRESTED. Clearly, the police did not catch every single one and it is realistic to assume some got away but no-one knows how many. It is therefore entirely legitimate to assume more than 165 people entered the country illegally on average each week given that there are a large number of people estimated by the authorities to be living here illegally, demonstrating large numbers are not caught.

 BBC Freedom of Information Act Request - Migrant Intercepts

The BBC request did give an indicator of how many "would be migrants were INTERCEPTED" by officials in France during the same period (January 2013 to end March 2016) which is astonishing. 145,157 were stopped (suggesting they have no right of access.) We can calculate the average = 145,157/169 weeks in period = 858. This would seem to prove that hundreds are trying to get through and the first part of the BBC's report shows that between 100+ are being arrested. How many are not?


Using this lack of rigour on behalf of the government to investigate the problem will illegal immigration into the UK as the grounds to simply challenge someone else to provide the proof isn't smart.

But we can extrapolate the data we do have to demonstrate that if we catch 165 people each week on average illegally try to enter the UK, the number of people who try, including those who are caught and those who succeed, is likely going to be over 165 given the total number of people intercepted in that same period by the French is 145,157. We know from extensive research undertaken by UKIP in Northern France that people stopped by the French authorities can simply go back and try again to get into the UK. We were told this directly from the Chief of the Port of Calais in the summer of 2015.

We know that estimates put illegal immigration at up to 1.1 million. Even if you take the lowest estimate of nearly half a million it still shows the situation is out of control.

The Police data shows an average of 165 people arrested per week in the sample period and that is just for those who were arrested We do not know how many escaped detection.

Those we know of who were "intercepted" before they could leave the continent averaged 858 per week. It is therefore reasonable to assume the number of people trying to get into the UK on average each week is in the 'hundreds' and it is alarming that the media would choose to focus on one line in a speech rather than the demonstrable failings of the Home Office.


Share this article on Facebook
Article first uploaded 20 February - 2017
back to news page
Useful Links

Find UKIP on social media: