More than 400 migrants cross Channel in one day in record for 2023


More than 400 people crossed the English Channel in small boats in one day, despite the government’s efforts to crackdown on illegal migration.

The Home Office confirmed 437 migrants arrived in the UK on Wednesday – the highest number on a single day so far this year, bringing the total number of crossings in 2023 to 4,431.

The total number of crossings last year was 45,755.

There appeared to be more arrivals on Thursday morning – after a group of people were pictured being picked up by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and taken to Dover.

Ten boats were detected on Wednesday, suggesting an average of around 44 people per boat, amid dangerous choppy conditions.

More crossings are expected as the weather gets warmer and conditions ease.

The news comes as ministers said a barge docked off the Dorset coast – called Bibby Stockholm – will hold around 500 asylum seekers for at least 18 months, despite facing legal threats from local Conservatives.

Bibby Stockholm docked in Genoa port
Bibby Stockholm docked in Genoa port

Dorset MP Richard Drax wants the plan for the giant barge “consigned to the dustbin”, while transport minister Richard Holden told Sky News it is hoped migrants will be housed “as quickly as possible”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the planned use of barges is “evidence of failure”.

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PM defends plans to house migrants on barge

The government has also made it more difficult for illegal migrants to access bank accounts to prevent them from working.

Read more:
Home Office ‘demonising’ illegal immigrants
Plan to house asylum seekers in giant barge confirmed

It will share details of disqualified persons through an anti-fraud organisation, and banks and building societies will then check their personal current account holders against those details.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said: “Illegal working causes untold harm to our communities.

“Only those known to be here unlawfully or those who have absconded from immigrational control will have their details shared, with robust safeguards in place to prevent wrongful account closures.”

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