A total of 45,756 migrants crossed the Channel to the UK in 2022, Government figures show. The last crossings of the year 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 2022 amid bad weather conditions. Home Office officials previously estimated up to 60,000 people could make the journey during the year.
Over the last 12 months, politicians have made a series of attempts to get a grip on the migrant crisis as pressure intensified amid a tumultuous change in leadership which saw three prime ministers and three home secretaries. 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.
Since the deal was signed in April by her predecessor Priti Patel, 40,460 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel. 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”.
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.