Published On: Thu, May 25th, 2023
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Massive increase in migrants arriving in UK in small boats last year, new figures reveal | UK | News

The number of migrants crossing the Channel to the UK has climbed by a staggering 42 per cent in the year to March 2023.

During that period, a record 8,631 migrants crossed in a single month – August.

In the 12 months to March of this year, around 45,000 individuals arrived in small boats from the continent.

Of that number, more than 50 per cent of the arrivals made the perilous trip across the shipping lane during the months of August, September and October 2022.

However, there may be slight signs of improvement, as the Government’s release notes that since the dawn of the year crossings are down on the same period in the previous year.

The online report stated that “the number of small boat arrivals from January to March 2023 (3,793) was 17% lower than in January to March 2022”.

This comes against a backdrop of Rishi Sunak’s commitment to “stop the boats” arriving from France.

Meanwhile refugee charities have pointed to the backlog of asylum application.

Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said: “The human cost of the failure to process asylum claims is staggering. Many people wait years for a decision in which time they’re forced to live in poverty, banned from work, segregated from communities and detained in run down hotels.

“The Government’s Illegal Migration Bill is going to make things much worse. It will bulldoze our post-World-War-II pledge to help refugees and create a system in which tens of thousands of people are forced to live in the margins of society.”

He added: “People will still have to make the deadly Channel crossing because this Bill creates no new routes for people to safely reach the UK while our refugee resettlement schemes are failing.

“The Government must end its addiction to hostility and deterrence, ditch its anti-refugee Bill and create a compassionate, just and accessible asylum system that benefits refugees and the taxpayer.”

Mr Sunak told ITV’s This Morning said people are concerned about illegal migration, as he appeared to concede small boat crossings bringing migrants to the UK are out of control.

The Prime Minister said: “What people are talking about when I’m out and about in cafes, restaurants, wherever it might be, they do talk to me more about illegal migration.

“And I’m sure your viewers, you know, when you see things on your TV screens, people coming here illegally on small boats across the Channel, I think that really says to people: ‘Hang on, that’s really not properly in control, when people can break the rules come here illegally.'”

He added: “And that’s why I’m working so hard – one of my five priorities, in fact, is to stop the boats, and you’ll know we’re taking tough measures to do that with new laws that were passing through Parliament.

“The idea that people can come here illegally, jump the queue, and as we know that, you know, they’re occupying hotels right across the country, which is costing all your viewers, taxpayers millions of pounds a day.

“That’s not right. That’s not fair. We’ve got to stop that too. And that’s why we’re passing new laws in Parliament to help us do that.”

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