More than 20,000 Channel crossings to UK this year

Arrivals from France so far nearly double the figure at the same time last year

More than 607 migrants were detected crossing the Channel on Saturday alone. PA
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More than 20,000 people have been detected crossing the English Channel in small boats so far this year, UK government figures show.

At least 607 were detected on Saturday – the third time the total has topped 600 since the start of 2022.

It takes the provisional total for the year to 20,017.

There were 28,526 crossings detected in 2021. By this point last year, just over 11,300 crossings had been made.

There have been 3,618 crossings detected in August so far, with 1,694 in the past week, according to the Ministry of Defence.

The highest daily total for 2022 to date was recorded on August 1, when 696 people made the crossing in 14 boats.

Saturday’s 607 crossings also involved 14 boats – the equivalent of about 43 people in each vessel.

It is four months since Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to deter people from crossings the Channel.

Since then 14,749 have arrived in the UK after making the journey.

On April 14 Ms Patel signed what she described as a “world-first” agreement with Rwanda under which the east African nation will receive migrants deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally” and are therefore inadmissible under new immigration rules.

But the first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was grounded amid legal challenges.

Several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services union and charities Care4Calais, Detention Action and Asylum Aid are challenging the legality of the Home Office policy, with the next court hearings due in September and October.

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

The number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France after navigating busy shipping lanes has increased steadily in recent years.

A total of 299 were detected in 2018, followed by 1,843 in 2019, 8,466 in 2020 and 28,526 last year, official figures show.

Despite the growing numbers, the UK’s small boat arrivals are a fraction of the number of people going to 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.

Updated: August 14, 2022, 1:16 PM