Number of foreign nationals who overstay their visas after arriving in Britain DOUBLES in just five years, new report claims
- A new report claims foreign nationals overstaying visas doubled in five years
- In 2016, 49,420 arrived with visas but never left, this rose to 91,863 last March
- Migration Watch UK claim 250,000 more could be staying in the UK unlawfully
The number of foreign nationals overstaying their visas in Britain has nearly doubled in five years, a report said yesterday.
In 2016, 49,420 people arrived with visas but there was no record of them leaving. In the year to last March the total had risen to 91,863.
Migration Watch UK, the think-tank that compiled the report, says another 250,000 per year from 55 countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the UK could also be remaining here unlawfully, taking the total to 340,000.
The report accused ministers of failing to come clean with the public over what happened to them.
The number of foreign nationals overstaying their visas in Britain has nearly doubled in five years, a report said yesterday. In 2016, 49,420 people arrived with visas but there was no record of them leaving. In the year to last March the total had risen to 91,863 (stock image)
The figure matches the officially-accepted level of legal net migration – the number of people who arrive to live in Britain minus the number who emigrate.
The net migration figure, which shows the impact of migration on the population of the country, was last counted before the pandemic in the 12 months to March 2020, and showed a level of 313,000 for the year.
Migration Watch UK chief Alp Mehmet said: ‘Overstaying is very likely getting worse while the Government seem to have ignored a large portion of data which could clarify the picture.
‘So much for promises to take back border control. Our research points to a major problem and it is about time the government told us how they are going to tackle it.’
The missing visitors made up 4.8 per cent of the numbers of people who arrived in Britain whose visas ran out in the year to the end of last March.
But yesterday’s report said: ‘These figures do not cover the largest tranche of non-EU visitors – so-called “non-visa nationals” who are citizens of 55 countries around the world who do not need a visitor visa in order to come here for a six-month stay.
‘The most recent investigation by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration found that the number of non-visa national visitors who were not recorded as leaving on time between 2015 and 2017 amounted to 500,000 in two years, or just over 250,000 per year.
‘The Government has declined to release recent figures on this, despite repeated parliamentary questions earlier this year.’
Migration Watch UK, the think-tank that compiled the report, says another 250,000 per year from 55 countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the UK could also be remaining here unlawfully, taking the total to 340,000 (stock image)
The report accused ministers of failure to keep up with data on visa overstaying or to publish any figures that would help the public understand the real scale of the problem.
It said: ‘The failure to record departure may not always indicate overstaying but may be due to data matching issues or other anomalies or gaps. The Government also says that there is more confidence in data on visa nationals than non-visa nationals because more information is held on them through their visa.
‘However, if the most recent figure of 92,000 people here on visas who were not recorded as departing in time were taken alongside the most recent equivalent published annualised figure for non-visa national visitors not recorded as departing on time during 2015-17, the total would be 340,000 per year.’
Migration Watch said that since the completion of the Brexit process last month 27 EU countries have joined the 55 from which visitors do need visas to enter Britain.