16 June 2009

UK immigrants amnesty 'worth £3bn'

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A study by the London School of Economics has found that around 618,000 people are illegally in the UK, and 442,000 of them are in London.

A study by the London School of Economics has found that around 618,000 people are illegally in the UK, and 442,000 of them are in London.

Granting amnesty to long-term illegal UK immigrants, could add up to £3bn to the economy, the report said.

London Mayor Boris Johnson commissioned the study and told the BBC that it proved UK mmigrants were "far from a financial burden" and had highlighted "long overdue facts". 

The study found that if a five-year residency plan was introduced 67 per cent of illegal immigrants would be eligible for a UK visa and work permit.

Mr Johnson said: "This new report has introduced some long overdue facts, hard evidence and academic rigour into a debate which has far too often been dominated by myth, anecdote and hearsay.

"So, far from a financial burden, as some suggest, this new research has found an amnesty could be worth up to £3bn a year to the country's economy.

"The study also demolishes the argument that an amnesty would inevitably lead to increased migration to the UK and identifies effective border controls as the vital factor in controlling and deterring illegal immigration."

The study found that around two-thirds of those living in Britain as illegal migrants would be eligible for an amnesty which granted legal status to those who have been resident for at least five years as part of a regularisation programme. The detailed estimates suggest that regularisation could raise an individual's earnings by 25 per cent and employment rates by 6 per cent, and imply an additional £3bn a year boost to national gross domestic product.

The Mayor first called for an amnesty for long-term migrants in April, an announcement was described as “naive” by Immigration Minister Phil and would lead to more trafficking of people.

According to the National Audit Office, the deportation of all illegal immigrants would cost the UK £4.7bn.


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