Number of English Channel migrant crossings surpasses 2021 record

·2-min read

The number of people who have crossed the English Channel to the UK aboard small boats has passed the total for all of 2021 - with more than three months left of the year.

At least 601 people made the dangerous journey to Britain on Monday - bringing the total for the year to at least 28,561.

By comparison, 28,526 made the crossing in 2021 in what was a record year.

Despite boasting some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the English Channel has seen more and more people risking their lives to reach the UK in recent years, often aboard unseaworthy dinghies, after being exploited by human trafficking gangs.

In December 2018, then home secretary Sajid Javid declared a major incident over crossings, in a year when just 299 people made the journey.

Since then, the Home Office has repeatedly vowed to make the route "unviable" - but the number of arrivals has continued to rise. Some 1,843 were detected in 2019, 8,466 in 2020, and 28,526 in 2021.

It was thought as many as 60,000 people could reach Britain in small boats this year.

The dangers of overloading dinghies were starkly highlighted when 27 people died after their boat capsized off the coast of France last year.

In an attempt to deter others from making the crossing, the UK government recently threatened to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda.

But the scheme has been mired in legal challenges, and more than 22,000 people have crossed the Dover Strait aboard small boats since former home secretary Priti Patel announced the agreement with Kigali.

The government has explored everything from sonic weapons to controversial pushback tactics to try to put a stop to the crossings.

It has been accused by barristers of trying to "demonise" people who support refugees with claims about "lefty lawyers".