Channel migrant crossings surpass 8,000 for year – more than doubling total from same period in 2021

More than 8,000 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the English Channel this year, figures show

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Since the start of 2022, 8,393 people have reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats, according to analysis of Government data.

This is more than double the number recorded for the same period in 2021 (3,112) and more than six times the amount recorded at this point in 2020 (1,340).

Crossings resumed this weekend, with more than 600 people arriving in Kent over two days, after four consecutive days last week without any taking place amid poor weather conditions.

Some 436 people made the crossing to the UK in nine boats on Sunday after 167 in 13 boats arrived on Sunday, according to Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures.

Home Secretary Priti Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

There have been nine days of crossings so far in May, with 1,700 people arriving in the UK as a result.

The highest daily total for 2022 to date was recorded on April 13 when 651 people made the crossing in 18 boats.

A record 1,185 people made the crossing to the UK on November 11 2021 – the highest recorded since the start of 2020.

A total of 28,526 people made the crossing in 2021, compared with 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018, official Home Office figures show.

The latest crossings come after the department said it had started to tell the first asylum seekers they could be flown to Rwanda under its new deportation plan, with flights expected to begin in “the coming months”.

In an interview with the Daily Mail this weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 50 migrants have already been told they are due to be flown to the east African nation within a fortnight but he anticipated legal opposition to the move.

Last week Tom Pursglove, one of the Government’s immigration ministers, told MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Committee that the scheme was a “new and untested policy” and could not point to what modelling was used to give the “evidence base” to implement it.

Despite the increasing numbers, the UK’s small boat arrivals are a fraction of the number of people arriving in Europe.

Data from the UN’s refugee agency shows at least 120,441 people arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea in 2021.