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France estimates the population of illegal migrants between 600 and 700,000

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said there could be up to 700,000 migrants living in France who do not have a valid residence permit.

The French Home Secretary claimed that this figure was actually quite low for a large European country, noting that the UK’s illegal immigrant population was estimated to be between 1 and 1.5 million.

“France has far fewer illegal immigrants than most of the major European countries, starting with Great Britain: between 1 and 1.5 million against 600,000 to 700,000 for us,” Darmanin told the media. French this week. Provence reports.

The exact figures for illegal immigrants are not known, but Darmanin’s statistics are likely based on the State Medical Aid System (AME) which provides care for illegal immigrants living on French territory.

In September, a report said France intended to spend up to € 1 billion (£ 860million / $ 1.17 billion) on the AME system in 2022, up from the previous budget. of 990 euros (850 million pounds / 1.162 billion dollars). year.

The estimate of up to 700,000 illegal immigrants is a drastic increase from the figures presented by former Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, who said in 2017 that there were only 300,000 illegal immigrants living in France.

Professor Jérôme Wittwer, author of a report on illegal immigration, said in 2019 that the number could be much higher than official estimates, specifying that only one in two illegals had requested AME and that the real number of illegal immigrants in France could be doubling official estimates.

The total annual cost of mass migration in France is also disputed, but a 2020 Court of Auditors report claimed the country spent € 6.57bn (£ 5.77bn / 7, $ 09 billion) for immigration in 2019, a figure 48% higher than in 2012.

National Populist Rally leader Marine Le Pen, one of the top contenders for next year’s presidential election, said at the time the overall figure could be much higher and estimated the state was spending $ 70 billion euros (£ 61bn / $ 76bn) when all costs have been totaled.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or by e-mail to ctomlinson (at)

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