Fewer migrants cross Channel at beginning of 2023 than January last year

Government officials expect number of people crossing will rise again in the spring

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent. PA
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The number of migrants making the journey across the English Channel dropped last month in comparison to January 2022, but figures are still far greater than previous years.

The latest government figures show a total of 1,180 migrants have arrived in the UK so far in 2023, 159 fewer than the 1,330 who made the crossing in January a year earlier.

However, this is still much higher compared to the previous four years. Seven people were recorded making the journey in January 2018; 45 in 2019; 94 in 2020 and 224 in 2021.

Government officials previously suggested any drop in crossings over the winter could be seasonal and linked to weather conditions, with numbers expected to rise again in the spring.

The Home Office published the latest figures after resuming responsibility for operations in the Channel to tackle migrant crossings.

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The new Small Boats Operational Command has taken over from the Royal Navy, which had been leading operations for eight months.

Military and civilian staff will work with the National Crime Agency under the SBOC as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to “grip illegal migration”.

He vowed to pass new laws to “stop the boats” as one of his five pledges for the year ahead.

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Updated: February 01, 2023, 10:14 PM