Number of migrants arriving to the UK in small boats hit almost 10,000 since start of 2022

More than 40 people were rescued from the Channel on Friday

A group of people thought to be migrants are taken to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Monday May 23, 2022.
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Almost 10,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the English Channel in small boats, government figures have shown.

A total of 9,988 people have reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats such as dinghies since the start of 2022.

It comes as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed 40 people were brought ashore on Friday in a single boat.

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, according to official figures.

The MoD defines a “small boat” as one of a number of vessels used by individuals who cross the English Channel “with the aim of gaining entry to the UK without a visa or permission to enter — either directly by landing in the UK or having been intercepted at sea by the authorities and brought ashore”.

The most common small vessels detected making these types of crossings are rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs), dinghies and kayaks.

People fleeing Afghanistan made up almost a quarter of the migrants crossing the English Channel in the first three months of 2022, as the number of asylum claims made in the UK has climbed to its highest in nearly two decades.

The backlog of applications waiting to be determined continues to soar, while the government plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Earlier this week it was revealed that more than a dozen Syrian asylum seekers are to be deported to Rwanda this month by the UK government.

On Saturday, Cyprus warned Mediterranean countries on major migrant routes into Europe should expect over 150,000 arrivals this year as food shortages caused by the Ukraine conflict threaten a new migration wave from Africa and the Middle East.

“This year the frontline member states are expected, as we have discussed between us, to receive more than 150,000 migrants,” Cyprus Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said after a meeting with fellow ministers of the so-called MED5 group in Venice.

Some 36,400 asylum seekers and migrants have already landed in Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta this year, after 123,318 arrivals in 2021, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Overall numbers, however, remain significantly below those of 2015, when over 1 million migrants reached the five countries to flee poverty and conflict across Africa and the Middle East.

Updated: June 04, 2022, 3:05 PM
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