A new study by think tank MigrationwatchUK has revealed that there are in excess of 1.1 million illegal immigrants in Britain and that the figure could easily be as high as 2.2 million or more.

According to the report, titled “The Illegal Migrant Population in the UK,” previous estimates of illegal immigrants have seriously underestimated the scale of illegal entry and those who overstay their visas.

“A more plausible estimate for illegal immigrants in the UK would be 1.1 million. If they were granted an amnesty their relatives and dependants would have the right to enter Britain, approximately doubling the numbers concerned,” the report said.

There are four major categories of illegals, the report continued:

(a) people who have been smuggled in or entered on false papers (illegal entrants);

(b) those who come with a visa but stay beyond it (overstayers);

(c) asylum seekers whose cases fail but who stay on in the UK;

(d) children of the above.

“Until May 2005 the Government insisted that no estimate on the actual numbers of illegal immigrants was possible,” Migrationwatch said.

“However, in June 2005, the Home Office published a report which they had commissioned and which arrived at a central estimate of 430,000 illegal migrants in the UK.

“By the time it was published this report was four years out of date.”