Two-thirds of all so-called unauthorised immigrants in Europe live in just four member states, and by one count there are more illegals in the United Kingdom than any other EU nation, according to new research.
Estimates of the number of illegals living in Europe in 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available, put the number at between 3.9 and 4.8 million people. Yet despite the freedom of movement between European nations, the vast majority — 70 per cent — of these illegals live in four countries, and half live in just two, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Both nations share a roughly equivalent estimated number of illegals, with the higher-end estimate at 1.2 million apiece, yet the demographics of the two nations are quite different. While German illegal migrants are more likely to be recent arrivals and from the Middle East than average, in the UK they are more likely to be long-term illegals and from the Asia-Pacific region.
The figures from the Pew Research Centre show the number of illegals — what the report calls unauthorised immigrants — has risen steeply since 2014, reaching a peak in 2016.
While this number has fallen slightly from the peak of as many as 5.3 million in 2016 during the high-tide mark of the Europe migrant crisis, the slight fall will be down only in a very small part to illegals leaving the continent for other parts of the globe. More impactful is the converting of unauthorised migrants as counted in the study into authorised or legal ones, by recognising their asylum claims or, as Pew cites is the case in France, by permitting citizenship after a certain period in the country as an illegal.