Ninety migrants cross English Channel on Christmas Day

UK Home Secretary aims to cut migration by foreign students

Migrants picked up at sea are helped ashore in England in December. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Ninety migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats on Christmas Day, the UK government said.

They made the journey in two boats in the first recorded crossings since December 21.

It takes the total number of arrivals recorded this year to 45,756. There were 28,526 the previous year.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has promised to move ahead “as soon as possible” with plans to deport Channel migrants to Rwanda.

Rulings by human rights judges have prevented any deportations from taking place so far.

However, the government won a verdict from the High Court last week that the policy is lawful in principle.

Ms Braverman is also drawing up plans to cut migration by foreign students and their families, it was reported on Monday.

Draft proposals seen by The Times call for the minimum income threshold to be raised for students bringing dependants to the UK.

Overseas students could be stripped of the right to stay in the UK for two years after completing their degree.

Ms Braverman is said to favour reforms despite concerns from academics about weakening the UK's higher education sector.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has promised to press ahead with the Rwanda deportation policy. PA

The income threshold could also be raised for some professions such as mechanical engineers, welders and graphic designers in an effort to reduce net migration.

Figures published in November showed net migration expanding the UK population by more than 500,000 for the first time.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has promised to double the number of asylum case workers so that cases are dealt with more quickly.

The Christmas Day boat journeys also reflect a trend that shows an increase in the number of people travelling on each boat.

The average number per boat rose from 13 in 2020 to 28 last year and 40 in the first nine months of this year, according to official figures.

A UK-France deal signed in November envisages increased patrols on French beaches in exchange for £63.6 million ($76.8 million) of British funding.

Updated: December 26, 2022, 3:32 PM