More than 6,000 migrants have crossed Channel to UK in small boats this year

More are expected to attempt the crossing to the UK. Credit: PA

More than 6,000 people have been brought ashore in the UK after crossing the English Channel in small boats so far this year.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed 181 migrants crossed to the UK on six boats on Good Friday, with more expected during the good weather over the Easter weekend.

It comes as the government promotes a widely-criticised plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The Royal Navy took over “operational command” of handling migrants crossing the Channel on Thursday as part of the shake-up that will see the planned transfer of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

A MoD spokeswoman said the patrol vessels are being used to bolster the capability in the Channel until “more appropriate” boats are sourced.

People landing on British shores after crossing the Channel in small boats could in future be sent to Rwanda Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

A total of 651 people on 18 boats were rescued or intercepted on Wednesday April 13, making it the highest number in a day so far this year.

A further 562 arrived on Thursday on 14 boats, which brings the total for the year to 6,011 according to figures collected by the PA news agency.

A record 1,185 people made the crossing to the UK on November 11, 2021 – the highest recorded so far since the start of 2020.

In March this year, 3,066 people made the crossing.

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This is nearly four times the amount recorded for the same month in 2021 (831) and more than 16 times the number in March 2020 (187).

It is also the fourth highest monthly total recorded since the start of 2020, behind July (3,510), September (4,652) and November (6,869) last year.

A total of 28,395 people made the crossing in 2021, compared with 8,417 in 2020.