17 May 2024

Record high migrant Channel crossings for first five months of the year

17 May 2024

The number of migrants detected crossing the English Channel has hit a new record high for the first five months of a calendar year.

Some 117 arrivals were recorded on Thursday, bringing the cumulative total for 2024 to 9,681, provisional data from the Home Office shows.

This is already higher than the total for the first five months of any previous year since current figures began in 2018, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

The previous record for the period January 1 to May 31 was 9,607, which was set in 2022, while last year saw 7,610 migrants arrive by the end of May.

The cumulative number of arrivals by small boats in 2024 is now 41% higher than at this point in 2023 and 15% up on this stage in 2022.

A group of people thought to be migrants was seen being brought into Dover on Friday on a Border Force vessel.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The unacceptable number of people who continue to cross the Channel demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible.

“We continue to work closely with French police who are facing increasing violence and disruption on their beaches as they work tirelessly to prevent these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys.

“Last year they stopped 26,000 people from reaching our shores.

“We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year, including tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, in order to save lives and stop the boats.”

There were 29,437 arrivals across the whole of 2023, down 36% on a record 45,774 arrivals in 2022.

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