Manston migrant processing centre now empty after overcrowding concerns

Manston migrant processing centre Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The migrant processing centre in Manston is now completely empty after concerns it had become dangerously overcrowded.

Home Office sources have confirmed that everyone who was being held at the site in Kent has now been moved into hotels.

ITV News understands that fewer people have arrived in small boats due to the weather, and that numbers were lower than officials had expected, despite a surge in numbers at the weekend.

It is also believed that people have been processed at a rapid rate and that the facility remains open and will continue to be used as needed to carry out initial checks on migrants as more arrive.

Earlier this month, 4,000 people were at the site Credit: PA

At its peak earlier this month, 4,000 people were at the site – at least double its 1,600 capacity – in what was branded a “breach of humane conditions”.

Since then the numbers have gradually reduced as groups were moved out of the site.

It's also believed that there has been improvement work done over the last few weeks - to increase the quality of conditions and that the government insist the site is completely fit for purpose.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Manston by design is meant to be a temporary holding facility, where people are processed before moving on – normally, fairly quickly.

“Obviously there were immediate challenges, particularly after the attack at the other centre, which caused numbers to spike. So you would expect numbers to be relatively low on a daily basis as people are moved through quickly.”

More than 42,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel, according to provisional Government figures.

No journeys have been recorded by the Ministry of Defence for the last seven days.

A Government spokesperson said: "Staff across the Home Office have worked tirelessly under challenging circumstances to source alternative accommodation as quickly as possible for those who have been processed at Manston. 

"Thanks to their efforts, there are currently no people being accommodated on-site, and improvements continue to be made to the site to ensure it remains well-resourced to process migrants safely and securely.

"The global migration crisis continues to place an unprecedented and unsustainable strain on our asylum system, which is why we remain focussed on deterring illegal migration and disrupting the criminal gangs responsible for these dangerous crossings".