UK Border Force rescue nine migrants on board dinghy in English channel

The UK Border Force have rescued nine migrants on board a small dinghy in the English channel.

It is believed the vessel had travelled from northern France earlier this morning.

Reporting six miles away from Dover, ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker witnessed the "huge operation".

"One of them unwell and also very thirsty, very hungry and very unsure of what would happen to them when the Border Force first arrived," he said.

A lifeboat from Dover, two UK Border Force vessels and a French coast guard vessel helped with rescuing the nine individuals.

The rescue comes as MPs heard how migrants are paying thousands of pounds to cross the English Channel in the belief that they will never have to leave once they reach the UK.

Hundreds of people, mostly claiming Iranian nationality, have attempted to make the perilous crossing in small boats in recent months.

On Tuesday, senior law enforcement officers told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that the majority of those who make it to Britain claim asylum upon arrival.

UK Border Force carrying the nine migrants believed to have been travelling from northern France on Wednesday morning.

In some cases they have paid £5,000 on average to "facilitators" who arrange the journey, with varying prices dependent on the level of risk involved.

In what is seen as a significant shift, the migrants are seeking out authorities - even dialling 999 from their boats - as opposed to attempting to slip into the country undetected.

Steve Rodhouse, director-general of operations at the National Crime Agency, said: "People are actively seeking being caught or engaging with UK authorities because rightly or wrongly, they don't fear being returned.

"That, I think, is something that is a significant player in the issue here. I know that Home Office colleagues if they were here ... will say there have been a number of returns.

"It's not my area of expertise at all. But I think at the moment it is in the minds of the facilitators and in the minds of those people willing to make the journey that there is a very low risk that they will be returned."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid previously sparked controversy by questioning whether those attempting to cross the Channel are genuine asylum seekers.

A report published last month claimed that fewer than half of failed asylum seekers are removed from the UK.