Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

Home Office written question – answered on 8th June 2022.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the financial agreement between the UK and French governments to tackle small boats crossings in the English channel, what the total cost to the public purse was of the UK's payments to France; what the terms of that agreement stipulated the financial support would be allocated to; and what assessment her Department has made of the impact of these payments.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

A bilateral arrangement was reached between the UK and France in July 2021 in which the UK pledged to make a financial investment of approximately £54 million (€62.7 million) in the Financial Year 2021/22. Further details can be found on the GOV.UK website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-france-joint-statement-next-phase-of-tackling-illegal-migration.

This funding was spread across four key thematic areas (law enforcement resource for onshore patrols; technology to detect and prevent crossing attempts; security infrastructure to reduce the opportunity for irregular migration from Northern France; and improving the access of migrants in Northern France to support from the French system). The funding pledged by the UK was used by France in line with the agreement. It is assessed that the investment directly contributed to France maintaining a prevention rate of nearly 50% of all crossing attempts, despite the overall number of attempts more than doubling in 2021. A significant proportion of the capabilities put in place as a result of the funding continue to actively prevent crossings.

The UK remains committed to continuing to address illegal migration with France via this enduring relationship and will continue to keep the impact of our investments with France under review to ensure we are responding to this ongoing issue.

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