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Channel crossings to the UK in 2022 pass 30,000

A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in Dungeness, Kent on Thursday September 22 (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A group of people thought to be migrants arrive in Dungeness, Kent on Thursday September 22 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

More than 30,000 people have been detected crossing the English Channel to the UK so far this year, Government figures show.

Some 667 people were detected on Wednesday, taking the provisional total for 2022 to 30,515.

This is higher than the figure for the whole of 2021, when 28,561 crossings were recorded.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Further crossings have taken place on Thursday, with children and a heavily pregnant women among the likely arrivals.

Special tents have been erected at Dover to keep the migrants covered while they are processed as the new arrivals appear to be overflowing from existing facilities.

There have been 5,475 crossings detected so far this month, including 1,160 on September 4.

This was just below the 1,295 on August 22, which is the highest daily total on record.

It is more than five months since the then home secretary, Priti Patel, announced plans to send migrants to Rwanda to try to deter people from crossing the Channel.

Since then, 25,247 people have arrived in the UK after making the journey.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A heavily pregnant lady is helped by police officers as a group of people thought to be migrants walk up the beach in Dungeness, Kent, after being rescued in the Channel by the RNLI on September 22 2022 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

On April 14, Ms Patel signed what she described as a “world-first” agreement with Rwanda, under which the East African country would receive migrants deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally”, and were 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 court cases 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.

Some 299 were detected in 2018, followed by 1,843 in 2019 and 8,466 in 2020, official figures show.

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.

The MoD said its data is taken from “live operational systems” and is subject to change, “including reduction”.