In the UK, the Office for National Statistical (ONS) has been commissioned to conduct a census to reveal the true number of illegal immigrants. Many of these illegal immigrants work in the black economy which is said to be worth £50 billion per year.
This census which will reveal the total population of foreign-born (illegal ones inclusive) and a massive database to be created this winter will be used by statisticians to track legal migrants in the UK via their tax files as well as their school and hospital records.
By the end of December, ONS would have received the tax files of all legal migrants (via HMRC) for the very first time. A self-assessment data will be conducted early next year to give statisticians a view of their movements and work patterns to such degree of details that is unprecedented. The combination of these two should lend itself to unprecedented accuracy in determining the true number of illegal immigrants.
Estimates in the UK have it that about 1.1 million illegal immigrants are in the country which includes failed asylum seekers, visa ‘overstayers’ and clandestine arrivals. Such estimates are not official hence the Common home affairs committee called for official annual publication of such estimates. The lack of official estimates is said to be aiding the hostility faced my migrants hence adversely affecting the immigration enforcement system in the UK.
It is quite difficult to remove these illegal immigrants as admitted by an ONS source who said it is in the nature of illegal immigrants to conceal their moves.
What the database will do
It will help officials in monitoring:
- Where illegal immigrants are
- The kinds of work they do
- Their wages and benefits
- Their taxes and
- Their impact on the labour market.
Jay Lindop who is the deputy director of ONS for center for international migration said this database would yield the best and much-needed evidence base informing services and policy decisions.
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