Number of English Channel migrants reaching UK in 2022 exceeds last year's total

Of the 28,561 people detected this year, 23,293 crossed since Britain's Rwanda policy was announced

The 2022 figure to date is nearly double the number that had been detected by this point last year. EPA
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More migrants have crossed the English Channel in 2022 so far than for the whole of 2021, UK government data suggests.

Another 601 people were detected on Monday in 19 boats, the Ministry of Defence said, taking the provisional number for the year to 28,561 — compared to last year’s total of 28,526 people.

Official UK data shows that of the 28,561 people detected attempting to cross the waterway this year, 23,293 have done so since the government announced on April 14 that it had agreed a deal to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda — a policy it said was aimed at dissuading migrants and trafficking gangs from making the dangerous journey.

Channel crossing attempts, from northern France to southern England, are often made in unseaworthy boats across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

The 2022 figure is nearly double the number that had been detected by the same point last year, which was slightly fewer than 14,500.

There have been 3,518 crossings recorded in September so far, the analysis shows, and the highest daily total on record came on August 22, when 1,295 people were found travelling in 27 boats.

In the first six months of 2022, Afghans and Albanians each accounted for 18 per cent of arrivals, 15 per cent were Iranians, 13 per cent were Iraqis and nine per cent Syrian.

Priti Patel, who was home secretary until she stepped down when Liz Truss became prime minister, said in the House of Commons on September 5 that Albanians accounted for about 60 per cent of the people arriving in the UK in small boats over the summer.

The number of people being carried in each boat is also increasing, according to the statistics gathered.

In 2018 there were fewer than 10 per boat, while in 2019 and 2020 the average was in the high teens. In 2021 the average increased further, reaching 20 in March and 30 by August. It reached 40 per boat in June this year then 46 in last month.

In 2018, 299 people were detected making the journey. The next year, 1,843 crossings were recorded and 8,466 in 2020.

Of the 50,297 people who arrived between January 2018 and June 2022, 94 per cent (47,306) applied for asylum, 91 per cent as main applicants (43,066), the Home Office said.

As of June, 16 per cent had received an initial decision on their application, 2 per cent had withdrawn their application and the remainder were still waiting.

Among those who had received an initial decision since 2018 (a total of 6,910), nearly half (49 per cent) were granted asylum or another type of leave.

Another 43 per cent of applications were not considered on “third country grounds” — meaning the UK government instead sought the person's removal to a safe third country because the applicant had a connection to that nation.

Updated: September 13, 2022, 12:11 PM
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