Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

Home Office written question – answered at on 7 February 2024.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information his Department holds on the number of people who attempted to enter the UK on small boats who were (a) intercepted by French authorities and (b) returned to France in (i) 2022 and (ii) 2023.

Photo of Michael Tomlinson Michael Tomlinson Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)

The French authorities provide the Home Office with regular operational updates, including estimates of the number of people who have been prevented from crossing to the UK.

Home Office records show that in 2022, around 33,000 crossing attempts (defined as an individual person attempting to cross the Channel by small boat) were prevented and returned to France. This compares with around 26,000 in 2023.

The decline in numbers of crossings prevented in 2023 relative to 2022 reflects the 30% decline in overall attempts made in 2023 relative to 2022.

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