Closed petition Rule out any prospect of granting an amnesty on illegal immigration

Boris Johnson is reported to be "considering an 'amnesty' for illegal immigrants who have been in Britain for more than 15 years". It is crucial to make clear the strength of public opinion so as to head off this absurd proposal. Vote now.

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- People who wish to come here should use the legal channels.
- Amnesties are manna for traffickers, rewarding illegality.
- The experience of Italy and Spain suggests that they encourage more illegal immigrants.
- The ex-head of immigration enforcement told a Commons committee that there are probably over 1 million illegal migrants in the UK.
- The Home Office estimate for 2001 was 430,000. There could well be half a million who have already been here 15 years.
- The cost could run into billions a year.

This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website

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Government responded

This response was given on 4 November 2019

We cannot rule out any means of implementing the Prime Minister’s proposal to look at our arrangements for undocumented individuals that have been here for a long time.

There are already several options available for those who have been in the UK for a long time to regularise their status. Adults who can demonstrate that they meet suitability requirements under existing private life rules (ECHR Article 8) must demonstrate they have lived in the UK continuously for 20 years; young adults must demonstrate they have spent half their life in the UK; and those under 18 should have lived continuously in the UK for seven years and it would not be reasonable for them to leave. There is also provision for those who do not meet requirements in exceptional circumstances. Alternatively, the family life rules enable families to regularise their status where there is a qualifying partner or child (British or lived continuously in the UK for at least seven years) and it is unreasonable to expect family life to continue outside the UK or for the child to leave.

It is not possible to know the exact number of the illegal population in the UK and so we do not seek to make any official estimates on this. Exit checks introduced in April 2015 will, over time, provide more detailed insights into the behaviour of migrants and how they comply with immigration rules. However, the data obtained do not provide the total number of illegal migrants currently in the UK and as such information on how many individuals have entered the UK illegally is not available.

The Government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people here legally, but which deters illegal immigration, prevents the abuse of benefits and services, removes immigration offenders and foreign national offenders from the UK and disrupts the organised crime groups that prey on the vulnerable.

Home Office.

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/266925)

Other parliamentary business

Original Government response

The Prime Minister said we should look at our arrangements for those who have lived and worked here for a long time, unable to enter the economy, participate properly or pay taxes, without documents.

The Government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people here legally, but which deters illegal immigration, prevents the abuse of benefits and services, removes immigration offenders and foreign national offenders from the UK and disrupts the organised crime groups that prey on the vulnerable.

By its very nature, it is not possible to know the exact number of the illegal population in the UK and so we do not seek to make any official estimates on this. Exit checks introduced in April 2015 will, over time, provide more detailed insights into the behaviour of migrants and how they comply with immigration rules. However, the data obtained do not provide the total number of illegal migrants currently in the UK and as such information on how many individuals have entered the UK illegally is not available.

Home Office.

This response was given on 25 September 2019. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.