More than half of migrants stopped in English Channel from Iran

Figures show 266 Iranians tried to cross in the first three months of the year

This image provided by the Marine Nationale (French Navy) shows migrants aboard a rubber boat after being intercepted by French authorities, off the port of Calais, northern France, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. French authorities have rescued eight migrants, including two children, whose engine failed as they tried to sneak across the English Channel to Britain. (Marine Nationale via AP)
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Iranians made up well over half of the 463 migrants who were intercepted trying to reach the UK from across the English Channel in the first three months of this year, government figures have shown.

Figures show 266 people claiming to be from Iran were stopped in the Channel along with 119 Iraqis, 47 Syrians and 13 migrants from Afghanistan.

Typically, migrants attempt to cross the world’s busiest shipping route in inflatable small boats.

Data compiled by Migration Watch UK, a think-tank campaigning for lower immigration into Britain, shows more than 1,700 people have arrived illegally in the UK from across the Channel so far this year, including 684 in May.

Authorities have not released official statistics for April or May because “the figures have not passed through a data quality check and cannot be assured”.

The UK government has invested €68.6 million (Dh280m) into a series of border security agreements with France that include “investments in improving border infrastructure at the ports of Calais and Dunkirk, the delivery of strategic communications campaigns, co-operation on return charter flights and developing access to French asylum services”.

While the government has threatened to send back those who make it ashore, data released in January shows that the majority, including those from Iran, have strong cases for asylum and are not returned to Europe.