More than 40,000 migrants have made Channel crossing this year, government confirms

Zoe Tidman

Sun, 13 November 2022 at 3:19 pm

Government figures show 40,000 have crossed the English Channel on small boats this year so far (AFP via Getty Images)
Government figures show 40,000 have crossed the English Channel on small boats this year so far (AFP via Getty Images)

More than 40,000 migrants have made the Channel crossing this year, official figures show.

The news comes comes after nearly 1,000 people were found making the journey on small boats on Saturday, the first time this month that any migrants have been discovered on the route.

They were split across just 22 vessels, according to the government data.

Channel crossings have been increasing in recent years, despite UK attempts to clamp down on journeys and bolster security along the French border.

Have you been affected by this story? Contact zoe.tidman@independent.co.uk

The number this year is already thousands higher than for the whole of 2021, despite government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to process their claims and make Channel crossings illegal.

Campaigners have called on the government to open more safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to stop people from making the dangerous crossing and relying on people smugglers to make it to the UK.

Ministry of Defence figures show that 972 people were found crossing the English Channel on Saturday, the first time arrivals were detected in around two weeks.

This means 40,885 people have been found crossing the Channel this year so far, including a record 1,295 in a single day in August.

Around 33,800 people have arrived in the UK since former home secretary Priti Patel announced plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda nearly seven months ago in a bid to deter people from making the crossings.

On Sunday, the immigration minister set out government plans to tackle the surge in small-boat crossings in a Sunday Telegraph article.

Robert Jenrick has insisted that a move towards more basic accommodation is necessary to remove a “pull factor” for those making their way to the UK in small boats.

He said a close relationship with the French would be vital to deterring those “attempting to cheat the process”. The government has said in recent days that a fresh agreement with France on migrant crossings is in its final stages.

The immigration minister also vowed to look into expanding the controversial Rwanda deportation scheme.

An inquiry was announced last week that will look at whether the government’s refusal to consider asylum claims from people who arrive by small boats violates international law. Since the start of last year, it has been able to declare claims “inadmissible” if someone has passed through a safe third country first.

The probe will also look into the legality of the Rwanda deal and treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.

The news comes amid concerns about living conditions at the Manston asylum processing centre, which has faced reports of overcrowding and disease.

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