Record number of migrants crossed English Channel in August

Highest daily and monthly number of people crossed over from France last month

Border Force and members of the military escort migrants ashore in Dover after they crossed the English Channel. EPA
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

A record number of migrants arrived in the UK in August, with more than 8,000 making the perilous journey across the Channel.

During the 31-day period, 8,644 people made the crossing on 189 boats, with journeys taking place on 21 of those days, PA news agency analysis of government figures showed.

It is the highest monthly total since current records began in 2018, beating the previous record set in November 2021 of 6,971.

The new figures come after the government removed 27 foreign criminals and five immigration offenders on a charter flight to Albania.

Meanwhile, the National Crime Agency said it is running about 60 investigations into criminals using small boats to smuggle thousands of people into the UK.

The highest daily crossing total on record took place on August 22, with 1,295 people making the trip in 27 boats.

Migrant crossings on the English Channel surge amid heatwave — in pictures

More than 25,000 people have made the crossing in 2022 so far, official Home Office figures and provisional data collected by the Ministry of Defence show.

Last week, Home Secretary Priti Patel struck a deal with the Albanian government to step up police activity and fast-track removals in a bid to tackle crossings after numbers increased “substantially” over the past few months.

Up to 60 per cent of arrivals are now thought to be from the south-eastern European country.

The Home Office said one of the people returned on Thursday’s flight to Albania was removed 24 days after “entering the UK illegally” by crossing the Channel.

Another person was removed 19 days after being caught by immigration officers working in a restaurant, having overstayed as a visitor, and another had arrived hidden in a lorry in May.

Afghan migrant documents dangerous journey across Channel — video

Among the foreign criminals were those convicted of supplying class A drugs, enabling illegal entry and sexual offences.

It is more than four months since Ms Patel unveiled plans to send migrants to Rwanda in a bid to deter people from crossing the Channel.

Since then, 19,775 people have made the crossing to the UK.

UK announces plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda — video

On April 14, Ms Patel signed what she described as a “world first” agreement with Rwanda, 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 to take place from Monday.

Campaigners called on the government to abandon the plan and free those awaiting removal from detention.

Inside a refugee camp in Rwanda — video

Medical Justice said torture and trafficking victims are among those being told they could be sent to the East African nation, assessments by its doctors showed.

The charity argued the health and well-being of the detainees has been “severely” affected by the policy and, for some, it has “increased their risk of self-harm and suicide”.

The Home Office disputed the findings and insisted “no one will be relocated if it is unsafe or inappropriate for them, and our thorough assessment of Rwanda has found that it is a fundamentally safe and secure country, with a track record of supporting asylum seekers”.

Updated: September 01, 2022, 9:15 PM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL