More than 9,000 migrants have arrived in the UK by small boats this year, according to official government figures – with 2,385 people arriving this month alone.
Data released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) today reveals 9,187 people have crossed the English Channel in 282 boats so far in 2022, with at least 120 arriving this morning, including women and children.
While choppy conditions at sea saw a temporary break in crossings between May 9 and May 14, migrant numbers are on the rise again as the Spring months bring calmer weather.
The first group to arrive on Monday reached Dover in Kent in the early hours of the morning, at approximately 1.10am.
A second group was intercepted and escorted to shore on a Border Force rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) around 8.30am.
UK officials could be seen helping them off the vessel – with one member of staff carrying a young girl, aged around three or four years old, to safety.
Border Force officer carries migrant child to safety after being brought to shore in Dover, Kent, on Monday morning
Data released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) today reveals 9,187 people have crossed the English Channel in 282 boats so far in 2022. (Pictured: Migrants arriving to Dover on Monday morning)
Migrants are brought ashore by a RNLI lifeboat in Dover, UK on May 23, 2022
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 on Monday morning
At least 120 migrants arrived to the UK at Dover on Monday morning (Pictured: One group of mostly men arriving)
One migrant is escorted to shore after being brought in by Border Force to Devon on Monday morning
Children and young migrants arrive to the UK by RNLI lifeboat in Dover, Kent, on Monday
The first group of migrants to arrive on Monday reached Dover in Kent in the early hours of the morning, at approximately 1.10am. A second group was intercepted and escorted to shore on a Border Force rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) around 8.30am.
A young girl is carried by a family member wrapped in a blue blanket after arriving to the shores of Devon in Kent on Monday
At least three more, mostly male, groups could be seen arriving on board Border Force RHIBs over the following hour.
It comes after 234 migrants reached the UK in five boats on Sunday.
The first group of around 50 people arrived at Dover around 10am on board Border Force cutter Hurricane.
They were escorted up the gangway for processing by soldiers dressed in fatigues and high vis jackets.
A further 40 people reached the harbour around an hour later on Border Force catamaran Typhoon.
HMC Searcher then escorted a third group of at least 50 migrants to shore around midday.
A similar sized group were brought to Dover on Border Force cutter Hurricane at 2.30pm.
Several members of the group could be seen waving at onlookers as they approached the harbour.
In 2021 a staggering 28,526 migrants crossed the Channel – significantly higher than the 8,410 who arrived in 2020.
Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP, has 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.’
Three migrants prepare to be processed after being brought to shore by a RNLI lifeboat in Dover on Monday morning
Officers help carry a small migrant child to safety after rescuing him from the Channel on Monday morning
A migrant is seen with a blanket over his head after arriving to Dover in Kent
Despite the increased crossings, however, Channel migrants are said to be abandoning their attempts to stay in the UK because they are afraid they might be sent to Rwanda.
Up to ten migrants have already asked to be returned home rather than risk having their claims for refugee status assessed in the east African nation, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
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.
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 emerged Saturday that some asylum seekers will be put up at the three-star Rouge by Desir hotel in the Rwandan capital Kigali, which has a swimming pool, tennis court, gym and access to a golf course.
Those notified of the Home Office’s intention to remove them to Rwanda have seven days to submit a legal challenge. It is understood that at least 20 appeals have been lodged, although only two cases have been made public.
Lawyers are expected to fight the removals with the same determination they use to challenge the deportation of foreign criminals.
And Dominic Raab this week admitted that the number of migrants deported to Rwanda is likely to only be in the ‘hundreds’ per year, despite Boris Johnson claiming tens of thousands could be sent.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister said he wanted to ‘manage expectations’ about the plan to give people deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally a one-way ticket to the east African nation.
When announced last month, Boris Johnson said tens of thousands of people could be flown there under a five-year deal costing taxpayers £120million.
But asked on Friday on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme how many were likely to be sent, Mr Raab said: ‘I would have thought it was more likely to be in the hundreds.’
Under the scheme, for which Kigali is set to be paid £120 million, migrants arriving on small boats across the English channel from France will immediately be transferred to Rwanda, where their paperwork will be processed.
But ongoing legal challenges from charities and a civil service union risk delaying the policy’s rollout for weeks or even months.
Care4Calais and Detention Action are the charities making legal claims against the policy, as is the Public and Commercial Services union.
They are also thought to be preparing legal claims for individual migrants.
It comes as the UN’s refugee agency the UNHCR reiterated its concerns over the Government’s plan to deport migrants to Rwanda.
In a post on Twitter, it said: “Financial support abroad for certain refugee crises cannot replace the responsibility of States and the obligation to receive asylum seekers and protect refugees on their own territory – irrespective of race, nationality and mode of arrival.”
The comments follow a visit by Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta to Geneva last week to meet representatives from the body, including its high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi.
According to the Home Office, Ms Patel and Mr Biruta reinforced their “commitment to working in collaboration with UN agencies” on the deportation plan and “emphasised” that claims will be processed in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention.
But afterwards, Mr Grandi said he had reiterated his concerns about the deal and that the UNHCR “will continue proposing concrete solutions that respect international law”, adding: “Shifting asylum responsibilities is not the solution.”