Boats a Distraction? Visa Overstayer Illegal Migrants Estimated at 64,000 a Year

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Illegal migrants who make it into Britain by obtaining legitimate visas and then not leaving are estimated at 64,000 a year, dwarfing the headline-grabbing boat migrant influx.

The ever-increasing number of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel on small boats — despite the Tories having first declared the crossings a “major incident” and promised to bring it under control in 2018 — is now the only migration-related issue to receive serious attention from British politicians.

Mass legal immigration, which the Tories no longer even pretend they will reduce “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands”, has been largely eliminated from the public discourse as a matter of debate, while illegal immigration by methods other than small boat which once enjoyed some prominence — breaking into Britain-bound lorries, for example, sometimes harming or even killing drivers in the attempt — have also been pushed into the background.

However, Sky News has now shone a light on the scale of illegal immigration, at least, beyond the boats crisis, with tens of thousands of people becoming so-called “irregular migrants” by showing up on visas for travel, study, temporary work, or some other pretext and simply not leaving once these have expired.

In an article broadly sympathetic to the migrants, the broadcaster analysed Home Office data from 2018 to 2020 and found that an annual average of 3,600 were recorded as having arrived in Britain by boat — although this is arguably misleading, as the numbers have risen dramatically year on year and currently stand at around 14,500 for 2021 with months still to go before the year’s end.

Accounting for people stowing away in lorries etc. as well, the average number of so-called “clandestine entries” rises from 3,600 a year to around 11,400 — keeping in mind that only clandestine entries that are detected are accounted for, so “the real scale is unknown and will likely never be known” — but this is still dwarfed by the hidden influx of visa overstayers, estimated at a whopping 64,400 a year.

Sky News does not that some of these migrants may leave later on, or have left without their exit having being recorded — a product of Britain’s consistently woeful immigration data collection.

It also estimates a further 4,000 migrants a year who arrive by air with no papers or false papers — noting that “This is only those detected in airports” and that “Again, the true number is unknown” — and a total of around 120,000 children with irregular status due to being born in the UK to parents with irregular status, although weaknesses in the data make it impossible to calculate an annual average for increases in this population.

It is down to these reasons, and others, that recent censi (censuses) taken in the United Kingdom has shown surprising rises in the number of people actually inside Britain, and the composition of cities. The results of the latest census, which will give a clearer picture of how many people are actually in Britain, will be published next year.

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