The fact is that the UK can no longer afford to ignore the number of irregular migrants without rights in the UK. The numbers are growing, and as such constitute an underclass of people in our society who enjoy virtually no rights or protection. How many more Morecambe Bays can the Government afford?
So far no large-scale general regularisations have taken place in the UK. As we have sought to argue, such a regularisation would not alone be the final answer to curtailing the presence of irregular migrants or the exploitation of their labour. In the end there will be incentives to evade UK immigration control as long as we have an overly complex and restrictive immigration system which is punitive toward migrants from the global south co-existing with vast global inequalities and a deregulated UK economy.