Number of migrants to cross the Channel by boat THREE TIMES higher

Number of migrants to cross the Channel by boat was THREE TIMES higher in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2021 as 4,540 arrived in the UK

  • A Home Office report shows Channel migrant numbers have reached new highs 
  • The number of people travelling on each boat has almost doubled in a year
  • The MOD says that more than 2,700 people have arrived this way in May alone
  • The Government’s Rwanda scheme is underway in an effort to deter crossings

The number of migrants to cross the Channel by boat was three times higher in the first three months of 2022 than during the same time last year, with 4,540 people arriving in the UK.

A report by the Home Office published today said in January to March this year there was an average of 32 people on each boat, compared to 18 people per boat in the same months last year.

The number of boats making the journey has also almost doubled from 74 to 141 during the same time period, with crossings taking place on 30 out of 90 days.

And these numbers show no sign of falling, with the Ministry of Defence saying more than 2,600 migrants in 87 boats have crossed the Channel in May alone.

That’s despite bad weather out at sea forcing a temporary break in crossings between May 9 and May 14, something that will become more uncommon as waters get calmer in Summer.

It comes after it was reported that some migrants are being forced onto rafts made of multiple dinghies taped together as people smugglers use dangerous new tactics to boost the numbers they’re sending across the Channel.  

Desperate families making their way from France to the UK are being put in increasingly dangerous situations as human traffickers tell them it was their ‘last chance’ to get to the UK before the Rwanda scheme.

A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in Dover on Monday, May 23. Official figures have revealed 4,540 people arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel this way in the first three months of this year. 

The number of boats making the journey has also almost doubled from 74 to 141 in January, February and March compared to the same time period last year. Pictured: A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in Dover on Monday, May 23.

According to the MoD, 9,439 people have arrived in the UK in 291 small boats this year. In 2021, 28,526 people crossed the Channel – significantly higher than the 8,410 who arrived in 2020

Asylum seekers are abandoning their attempts to stay in the UK because they are afraid they might be sent to Rwanda , The Mail on Sunday has learned.

Up to ten migrants have already asked to be returned home rather than risk having their claims for refugee status assessed in the central African nation.

They had begun the asylum process here but withdrew their applications after the Government announced the controversial new policy last month.

The news is a boost to Home Secretary Priti Patel as it offers the first sign that her plan – aimed at deterring migrants from making the perilous journey across the Channel – is beginning to work. This newspaper can also reveal that almost 100 migrants have now been given notices that they will be transported to Rwanda.

Home Office officials hope the number abandoning their claims will increase rapidly once the first flights to Rwanda begin – possibly as early as next month.

‘It’s a positive start,’ said a Government source. ‘We always said we need to get the flights going before it becomes a deterrent, but this shows the direction we’re heading and why we introduced the policy.’

But those who do attempt the journey are being lied to by the money-grubbing gangs, as no matter when they arrived they could still be sent to Rwanda

Some marine experts say those going onto the water are even being given ‘lifejackets’ filled with foam which makes it more likely for them to drown as it becomes waterlogged.

There is evidence to show the controversial scheme is working, with the Mail on Sunday reporting some migrants are already abandoning their plans to make the crossing in the face of being sent to Africa.

According to Home Office data 89 per cent of people who made the crossing in the first three months of this year are male, the same as the average between 2018 and 2021. 

Aside from the 3,448 men who made the journey in January, February and March, data shows 342 women and 743 children made it to the UK. 

Of the children 594 were recorded as being boys, 142 as girls and seven as unknown. 

Nearly a quarter of those arriving are Afghan nationals, while Iranians and Iraqis also made up a high proportion of those  on the boats. 

The Home Office says 24 per cent (1,094) of people were from Afghanistan, with 16 per cent (742) from Iran and 15 per cent (681) from Iraq.

Information on age, gender and nationality was not available for some arrivals.

According to an analysis of Government data by PA news agency, 99,330 migrants have crossed the busy shipping lanes of the Channel since the start of the year. 

A total of 28,526 people made the crossing in 2021, compared with 8,466 in 2020, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018, according to official figures.

Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration Tom Pursglove said: ‘The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable.

‘Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes. Rightly, the British public has had enough.

‘Through our Nationality and Borders Bill, we’re cracking down on people smugglers and fixing the broken system by making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introducing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for those who facilitate illegal entry into our country.’

The Border Force says it has seen smugglers increasing the number of people they can take onto the water with dangerous new techniques, The Times reports.

In order to do this traffickers have been seen cutting up rigid inflatable boats (known as RIBs), pushing them together and sticking to each other with duct tape.

Pictured: Unsafe boats found last year being held together with boards of wood and masking tape. Smugglers are taping these together to form larger rafts that can carry more people

Hundreds of crossings have been attempted in recent months by migrants packed into unsafe boats, like this one pictured in December last year

These boats tend to carry between 30-40 people, but some Border Force officers have found them carrying as many as 84.

By being able to carry more people on their boats, people smugglers have been able to drop their prices, with one official telling the Times that it can now cost as little as £300 per person for a place on one of the boats.

Richard Lerdale, a senior Border Force officer, told the Times: ‘These are operating crime groups and once they have that individual at that beach it isn’t an option of ‘I don’t particularly want to actually depart on that vessel’.

‘Once they’re there there’s good evidence to suggest at that point they are forced or threatened onto that vessel. Their choice has now been taken away from them.’

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Monday May 23, 2022

A group of people thought to be migrants are boarded onto a bus after bring brought in to Dover, Kent. Monday May 23, 2022

Meanwhile, Carol Heginbottom, deputy director of Clandestine Channel Threat Command (CCTC) at the Home Office, said those on the boats are being given potentially lethal lifejackets filled with foam.

She said: ‘A lot of them hinder their safety because once soaked up it’s going to just drag you down and they become waterlogged within seconds. They are effectively putting on a sponge.’

She said this would keep someone alive for ‘a few minutes’ and the gangs responsible are ‘effectively sending these people to their deaths’.

Christopher Tilley, chief of staff at the CCTC said the gangs are ‘ruthless and cut-throat’ gangs are ‘pushing people across to maximise the profits’.

Source: Read Full Article