More than 12,000 migrants have crossed Channel to reach UK so far this year

According to MoD figures, 231 people were intercepted in five boats crossing the Channel on Friday, June 24.

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More than 12,000 people have reached the UK so far this year by crossing the English Channel in small boats, according to figures collected by the PA news agency.

The milestone comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would not give a figure by which Channel crossings needed to come down before the Government’s Rwanda migrant policy could be declared a success.

According to MoD figures, 231 people were intercepted in five boats crossing the Channel on Friday, June 24.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Thursday June 16, 2022.
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Thursday June 16, 2022.
Migrants are brought ashore in Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers. Picture date: Thursday June 16, 2022.
Migrants are brought ashore in Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers. Picture date: Thursday June 16, 2022.

This brings the total of people reaching the country for the year to 12,159.

Speaking on the effectiveness of the Rwanda policy, Mr Johnson said: “I’m not going to give you a figure.”

He said the “humane policy” is about “breaking the business model of those who criminally abuse and cheat people crossing the Channel in unseaworthy vessels”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

The busiest week for Channel crossings so far this year was April 11 to 17, when 1,792 people were brought to shore – but the busiest seven-day period was 2,076 people who crossed in the seven days to April 19.

Crossings have continued despite the threat of asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda under new Home Office plans.

However, the first flight to Rwanda, planned for last June 14, was cancelled at the last minute following an order from the European Court of Human Rights.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has previously described the court’s decision as politically motivated while Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said it was wrong for the injunction to be granted.

Ongoing court battles have created uncertainty over when any further attempts to fly asylum seekers to the African country will be made, although Ms Patel has said the Government “will not be deterred from doing the right thing, we will not be put off by the inevitable last-minute legal challenges”.