40,000 migrants crossed the English Channel to Britain in small boats this year

40,000 migrants crossed the English Channel to Britain in small boats this year
40,000 migrants crossed the English Channel to Britain in small boats this year

40,000 migrants crossed the English Channel to Britain in small boats this year

  • Fiona NemoniDaniel Sandford
  • BBC News

image shared, Reuters

More than 40,000 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats so far this year, the highest number since arrivals began in 2018, according to the BBC.

Last year, 28,526 people arrived in southern England, while just over 8,000 arrived in 2020.

The British Ministry of Defense will publish the official number on Sunday.

The British government hopes its plan to send some migrants to Rwanda will discourage people from crossing the English Channel.

Two weeks of bad weather in the Channel allowed the Home Office to reduce the number of migrants being held at Manston, the overcrowded immigration center in the Kent region.

The center was thought to have housed 4,000 immigrants at one point, although it was only designed for 1,600.

In the milder weather on Saturday, more than 100 migrants were brought ashore by border guards and lifeboats, according to witnesses and rescue workers who spoke to the BBC.

And patrols along the French coast have so far failed to deter people from the dangerous journey.

Britain’s Cabinet Office said this week that talks for an agreement with France on crossing points for small boats across the English Channel were in the “final stages”.

Rishi Sunak held his first meeting as UK Prime Minister with French President Emmanuel Macron at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

The French government said the two leaders had agreed to “intensify coordination to meet the challenge of illegal immigration”.

The vast majority of migrants seek asylum and many remain in hotels while awaiting decisions on their applications.

Applications are expected to be processed within six months, but the delays are causing many immigrants to stay longer in hotels.

Members of Parliament learned last month that only 4% of people who arrived in small boats last year had their applications decided.

Home Affairs Committee MPs also heard the UK spends around £7million a day on hotels housing asylum seekers.

And some local councils in England this week failed to prevent asylum seekers from being moved to large hotels in their area.

Local authorities argued that the hotels had been converted into hostels in violation of their local planning regulations.

Without major changes, the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats could reach 50,000 by the end of the year.


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