A significant milestone was reached on Thursday as the number of migrants crossing the English Channel since 2018 surpassed 100,000. The Home Office reported that 755 individuals were detected crossing in 14 boats on that day alone, marking the highest daily count for this year. The same day, a total of 17 people were rescued from the water after going overboard, with all individuals taken ashore for standard health and safety assessments.
In response to the escalating situation, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) dispatched lifeboats from Dover, Ramsgate, Dungeness, and Littlestone to assist the coastguard operation. However, the Border Force faced complications as one of its cutters broke down, and a £400,000 surveillance drone designed to monitor Channel activity crashed into the sea.
The surge in migrant crossings across the Channel began in 2018 and has since become a regular occurrence. According to analysis of government data since January 1, 2018, a total of 100,715 individuals have arrived in the UK through this route.
These recent crossings have transpired just weeks after comprehensive asylum reforms were enacted into law. Concurrently, the government is contending with legal challenges related to its Rwanda agreement and decisions regarding migrant accommodations on former military sites in Essex and Lincolnshire.
As part of the effort to address these issues, asylum seekers were finally transferred to the Bibby Stockholm barge on the Dorset coast, albeit after facing significant delays. The government’s Illegal Migration Act, aimed at fulfilling the Prime Minister’s commitment to “stop the boats” crossing the Channel, will prohibit asylum claims for those arriving through unauthorized means. The implementation timeline for this legislation remains under development, with certain aspects expected to be rolled out gradually over the coming months.
The latest data from 2022 reveals that over 89,000 people sought asylum in the UK, a figure that has been steadily rising throughout the past decade, particularly as refugees fled from Syria. The ongoing challenges associated with migrant crossings and asylum applications highlight the complexities of managing immigration and refugee policies.