English Channel migrant crossings top 5,000 for the year so far

A record 45,755 crossings were recorded in 2022. Credit: PA

More than 5,000 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year.

Home Office figures published on Tuesday (18 April) confirmed the provisional total number of people making the journey to date in 2023 now stands at 5,049.

Some 113 migrants were detected in three boats on Monday (17 April), suggesting an average of around 38 people per boat.

The cumulative number of Channel crossings this year is currently running below the level for 2022.

At the equivalent point last year, the number of crossings stood at just over 6,300. Credit: PA

Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak admitted that his plans to stop boats crossing the Channel "won't happen overnight" and declined to promise they could be completed by the next general election.

Nearly 45,000 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel since the Government signed the Rwanda deal just over a year ago.

Suella Braverman told of her "dream" of seeing the Government's plan to send migrants to the east African nation 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.

Her predecessor Priti Patel signed the agreement which she described as a "world-first" with Rwanda on April 14 last year.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Credit: PA

In November, Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft confirmed Britain had already paid Rwanda £140 million under the deal but said he was still unsure whether the policy was value for money.

The battle over the legality of the policy continues, with a four-day hearing listed at the Court of Appeal next week.

The Prime Minister pledged to "stop the boats" as one of his five main priorities while in office.

The Government has vowed to change the law to make it clear people arriving in the UK illegally will not be allowed to stay, either facing deportation back to their home country or a nation like Rwanda where a deal is in place.

Attempts by ministers and officials to use a former RAF base in Essex to house asylum seekers are also set to end up in court.

Braintree District Council said it has been granted an injunction hearing at the High Court on Wednesday and the Home Office has agreed not to move any migrants on to the Wethersfield site until after that date.