Channel crossings to the UK exceed 25,000 for the year

·2-min read
The number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France after navigating busy shipping lanes has increased steadily in recent years (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
The number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France after navigating busy shipping lanes has increased steadily in recent years (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

More than 25,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year, Government figures show.

Some 915 were detected on Saturday in 19 small boats, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, taking the provisional total for the year to 25,146.

There have been 8,747 crossings detected in August so far, with 3,733 in the past week, analysis shows.

More than 8,000 people have made the crossing to the UK so far this year (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
More than 8,000 people have made the crossing to the UK so far this year (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

August 22 saw the highest daily total on record, with 1,295 people crossing in 27 boats.

It is more than four months since Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to deter people from crossing the Channel.

Since then 19,878 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.

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

Priti Patel with Rwandan minister Vincent Biruta in April (Flora Thompson/PA) (PA Wire)
Priti Patel with Rwandan minister Vincent Biruta in April (Flora Thompson/PA) (PA Wire)

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.

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

Some 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 small boat arrivals are a fraction of the number of people going to mainland Europe.

Data from the UN’s refugee agency shows at least 120,441 people arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean by land and sea last year.