Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

Home Office written question – answered on 17th June 2022.

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Photo of Lee Anderson Lee Anderson Conservative, Ashfield

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of her Department's progress in preventing undocumented migrants from crossing the English Channel since December 2019.

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

Preventing the illegal entry of people to the UK in small boats is an ongoing priority for the Government. These crossings are dangerous and unnecessary and must be made unviable. To achieve this, the UK and France maintain a longstanding relationship on tackling illegal migration at the shared border. Most recently, a bilateral arrangement was reached between the UK and France on 20 July 2021, where the UK pledged to make a further financial investment of approximately £54 million (€62.7 million) in 2021/22 to tackle illegal migration and small boats.

The UK and France have agreed to keep the impact of these measures and their implementation, under close review, including via a UK-France Joint Monitoring Committee, chaired by senior officials from both countries. This will enable us to respond to our shared challenges as they change. Last year’s investment saw France doubling the number of its officers patrolling French beaches. Our joint activity with France prevented more than 23,000 crossings in 2021. So far in 2022, over 8,000 people have been prevented from crossing – more than twice the number to this point in 2021. Furthermore, since the UK-France Joint Intelligence Cell (JIC) was established in July 2020, we have, with France, dismantled 21 small boat organised criminal groups and secured over 500 arrests. We assess that this has had a considerable impact upon facilitators. Going forward, the Home Office will continue to cooperate closely with the French Government on this important issue.

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