Migrant crossings hit 29,099 with 538 people intercepted on Tuesday

Migrant arrivals in the UK hit more than 29,000 in record total – after 538 people were intercepted while trying to cross the Channel yesterday

  • Tuesday saw another 538 people arrive in Dover after crossing the Channel 
  • It brings the total to have reached Britain’s shores to a record-breaking 29,099 
  • Dover’s MP said the rise in people braving the Channel was  ‘deeply concerning’  
  • It is despite the Home Office saying it will deport economic migrants to Rwanda

The number of migrants reaching Britain’s shores in small boats this year has topped more than 29,000 today, in the latest chapter of the nation’s immigration crisis.  

A total of 538 people were intercepted in dinghies crossing the treacherous English Channel on Tuesday in 11 separate incidents, the Ministry of Defence has announced. 

A flotilla of Border Force vessels and RNLI lifeboats worked around the clock to intercept and rescue people sailing across the 21-mile stretch of water as weather conditions worsened.

The flimsy inflatable vessels have to cross two of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and are extremely difficult to spot from large container ships and tankers.

Most were brought into the harbour at Dover while others came in at Ramsgate in Kent.

More than 29,000 migrants have now arrived on Britain’s shores so far this year, in a new record for the UK 

The new figures are hugely embarrassing for the Government after vowing to curb arrivals 

The record-breaking number of migrants crossing the Channel has shown no sign of slowing

The latest arrivals take the number of people brought ashore on the Kent and Sussex coast to 29,099 this year.

By contrast, during the whole of 2021 there were 28,526 migrants detained in what was then a record compared to 8,410 in 2020.

In the first two weeks of September alone 4,056 people have now arrived in 96 boats.

On Monday, 2022 became an official record year after the MoD said 601 migrants had arrived in the UK, taking the total at that time to 28,561 – with three months still left of the year.

Weather conditions in the Channel have deteriorated hampering chances of small boats risking the crossing today. 

But with better weather expected next week, the record figures are expected to rise yet again. 

Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover, said: ‘The numbers of arrivals are deeply concerning. It’s vital to see the small boats crisis brought to an end as the seas will become colder and rougher as we head into Autumn and Winter. 

‘Action is needed now to avoid further tragic loss of life on the English Channel.’

The enormous numbers come despite hard line taken by the Home Office, ignored by migrants

Since the UK vowed to send economic migrants to Rwanda four months ago, 23,293 people have crossed the Channel

The news comes more than four months since former home secretary Priti Patel announced plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to deter people from crossing the Channel.

Since then 23,293 people have arrived in the UK after making the journey.

2022’s migrant record  

The number has increased steadily each year since 299 people were detected making the journey in 2018.

There were 1,843 crossings detected in 2019, 8,466 in 2020 and 28,526 in 2021, according to the Home Office

The current cumulative total for 2022, 29,099 is nearly double the number at this point last year (14,474).

Of the 29,099 people who have been provisionally detected so far this year, 23,831 have crossed since the Government announced on April 14 that it had agreed a deal to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was grounded amid a series of legal challenges.

In 2021 more than half of the people detected crossing the Channel were of Iranian or Iraqi nationality (30% and 22% of the total respectively).

A further 10% were Eritrean, 9% were Syrian and 5% were from Afghanistan.

Former home secretary Priti Patel said in the House of Commons on September 5 that Albanian nationals accounted for around 60% of the people arriving in the UK via small boats over the summer.

The average has risen steadily since the start of 2021.

In 2018 there were fewer than 10 people per boat, while in 2019 and 2020 the figure tended to fluctuate between single figures and the high teens.

From 2021 the average started to increase, reaching 20 in March and 30 in August.

On April 14 Ms Patel signed what she described as a ‘world-first’ agreement with Rwanda, under which the East African country 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.

Several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services Union and charities Care4Calais, Detention Action and Asylum Aid are embroiled in a court case with the Home Office as they challenge the legality of the policy.

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

Over the course of 2019 almost 1,900 people had made the treacherous journey and in 2020 a total of 8,410 asylum seekers had arrived on British soil by small boat.

Figures began to significantly increase by 2021 when 28,526 migrants crossed the Channel, according to data released by the Home Office.

August saw a record month with 8,644 people arriving on the Kent coast and the busiest day came on August 22 when 1,295 migrants crossed the Channel in 27 boats – an average of around 48 people per vessel.

On Tuesday, a rescue operation was launched by the RNLI, with a lifeboat bringing a number of men and women into Dungeness, Kent in the early hours of this morning.

They could be seen carrying their belongings in black bin bags.

A second group of asylum seekers are thought to have landed on the beach at Ramsgate, Kent around the same time.

Shortly after 9am Border Force vessel Hurricane could be seen escorting dozens more migrants into the port at Dover.

They clutched blue blankets around their shoulders after battling cold and windy conditions at sea. 

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.  

Economic migrants have been told them could be deported to Rwanda from the UK

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: ‘With record numbers of people crossing the Channel this year, we are seeing how the Government’s policies enshrined in the recent Nationality and Borders Act and their Rwanda deal are doing absolutely nothing to deter desperate people jumping on boats because they do nothing to address the reasons people come. 

‘Let’s not forget the men, women and children coming across the Channel are fleeing atrocities like those in Ukraine and Afghanistan. No-one risks their own or family’s life unless they are running from dangers more acute than they face on these journeys.’

The Home Office has previously said its reforms to tackle the number of migrants coming to the UK would ‘take time’ but the Government was ‘determined to bring lasting change’ to the asylum system so that it is ‘fair but firm’. 

MailOnline has approached the Home Office for comment about the latest figures. 

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