Ireland has the most illegal migrants in the EU per head of population

1.3m illegal migrants were found in the EU in 2023 – a 13% jump in one year

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2024

Out of the 1.2m illegal migrants not deported, how many are headed for the United Kingdom?

On Monday (06 May 2024) the EU Commission released its latest figures on the number of illegal migrants it knows of who have entered the EU. The number went up by a massive 13% in just one year. Only 8.8% were deported, leaving 1.2m still in the EU.

This matters because almost all the UK’s illegal migrants come from the EU – specifically from France - and they will not take them back.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

The EU’s illegal migrants detected in 2023

  • Illegal migrants detected : 1,265,350
  • Actually deported : 111,185 (8.8%)
  • Remaining : 1,154,165

[Source : EU Commission (Eurostat), 06 May 2024.]

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2024 - click to enlarge

Ireland has the most illegal migrants per head of population

1.265 million non-EU citizens were found to be illegally present in the EU in 2023, up 12.9% compared with 2022.

Relative to the population, the rate of illegal migrants in the EU in 2023 per thousand inhabitants was 2.8, but this masks some very large variations by country. The country which had the highest number was the Republic of Ireland (28.9). Ireland was followed by Czechia (17.6), Sweden (16.6) and Poland (11.0).

In terms of overall numbers, Germany reported the largest number of non-EU citizens found to be illegally present in 2023 (263,670), followed by Italy (194,750) and Hungary (159,780) These three Member States together accounted for 48.9 % of all illegal migrants detected in the EU.

Orders to leave

484,160 non-EU citizens were ordered to leave the EU in 2023, an increase of 3.8% compared with 2022. This is the second highest since 2014. France issued the highest number of orders to leave (137,730; 32.0%), followed by Spain (64,260; 13.3%) and Germany (44,620; 10.4%).

In terms of where they came from, the highest number of orders to leave the EU in 2023 were issued to citizens of Morocco (49,260), Algeria (38,145) and Afghanistan (23,475).


The Republic of Ireland made the news in the UK recently for two reasons. Firstly it has seen a significant increase in protests from its citizens about the number of illegal migrants in its country. Secondly, the Irish government blamed this on the United Kingdom.

Looking at the official figures, however, the Republic’s problem with illegal migrants appears to have begun well before the UK’s Rwanda Bill was passed in Parliament.

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[ Sources: EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Wed 08 May 2024

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