Migrant Channel crossings top 11,000 for year so far

More than 11,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel.

Home Office figures show 316 people made the journey in five boats on Thursday, the same day around 80 were rescued when they got into difficulty during the crossing.

The latest crossings mean 647 people have already arrived in four days this week, taking the provisional total for 2024 to 11,095.

(PA Graphics)

This is up 46% on the number recorded this time last year (7,610) and 11% higher than the same point in 2022 (9,984), according to PA news agency analysis of the figures.

More than 1,000 arrivals have now been recorded since the General Election was called on May 22 (1,213), with immigration a key campaign battleground.

In the last six and a half years as the recent migrant crisis unfolded, 125,440 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel, data recorded since the start of 2018 shows.

Some 80,459 people have made the journey since the Government struck the stalled deal to send migrants to Rwanda in April 2022.

The tally of crossings since Rishi Sunak, who pledged to “stop the boats”, became Prime Minister in October that year now stands at 48,158.

Three children, including a baby, were reportedly among those brought ashore to safety after the incident off the Kent coast on Thursday morning which saw the coastguard and lifeboat crews called to help Border Force.

Some of those rescued are thought to have been pulled from the water after their boat is said to have capsized.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported and no-one was taken to hospital, PA understands.

The coastguard later confirmed the search had ended with “all people accounted for and back on land”.

The figures suggest there was an average of 63 people crossing the Channel to the UK per boat on Thursday.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock accused Mr Sunak of making “false” claims on cutting the number of migrant arrivals, branding it a “desperate attempt to pull the wool over voters’ eyes”.

“Under Rishi Sunak and the Tories, the number of small boat crossings in the Channel just keeps on going up,” he added as he claimed Labour had a “comprehensive plan” to curb crossings.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We continue to work closely with our French partners to prevent crossings and save lives.”