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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lydia Chantler-Hicks

More than 45,000 migrants crossed the Channel to the UK in 2022

A record 45,756 migrants crossed the Channel to the UK in small boats in 2022, new Government figures show.

The figures reveal crossings have risen by more than 60% since 2021, when 28,526 people made the perilous journey.

The last 12 months that have seen politicians make a series of attempts to get a handle on the migrant crisis - amid a tumultuous change in leadership which saw three prime ministers and three home secretaries.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told of her “dream” of seeing the Government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda succeed after she was appointed Home Secretary – a policy which High Court judges ruled is lawful but has so far been stalled by legal action.

The first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was grounded amid a series of legal challenges.

(PA Wire)

Since the deal was signed in April by her predecessor Priti Patel, 40,460 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel by small boat has increased steadily each year since 299 people were detected making the journey in 2018.

There were 1,843 crossings in 2019, 8,466 in 2020 and 28,526 in 2021, according to the Home Office.

The last crossings of 2022 took place on Christmas Day, when 90 people made the journey from France in two boats.

The Ministry of Defence recorded no further crossings for the remaining six days of the tear, amid bad weather conditions.

Home Office officials previously estimated up to 60,000 people could make the journey during the year.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to bring in legislation in 2023 to make it “unambiguously clear that if you enter the UK illegally, you should not be able to remain here”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (Getty Images)

Among a series of measures to curb Channel crossings and tackle the backlog of asylum claims, Mr Sunak vowed to stop housing asylum seekers in hotels, with the Government instead hunting for accommodation in empty holiday parks, former student halls and surplus military sites.

Ms Braverman confirmed plans to house migrants on disused cruise ships are also being considered as she revealed £3.5 billion would be spent on the asylum system in 2022/23. Some £2.3 billion of the total bill will go towards paying for hotels, she told MPs.

Earlier this week, former prime minister Theresa May warned efforts to reform modern slavery laws risk creating other loopholes that could be exploited after Ms Braverman claimed they are being “abused by people gaming the system” to stay in the UK when they would otherwise face deportation.

Meanwhile, ministers are also looking to curb the numbers of people coming into the country legally with plans which could reportedly target foreign students, make it harder to bring spouses to the UK, and increase the minimum salaries for companies employing skilled workers.

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