Record number of people cross Channel to UK in small boats in 2022 – as arrivals soar by 60% in a year | UK News
In 2022, a record 45,728 people crossed the English Channel to the UK on small boats, more than 60% more than the previous year as people continue to risk their lives on the perilous journey.
The dangers of the deep waters between France and Britain have been painfully spotlighted again in the past 12 months, when four people died after their boat capsized in freezing water in December.
It was a year when the government continued to promise tough measures to stop the flow of boats and crack down on people smugglers, including pursuing his controversial Rwanda deportation scheme.
But data on the numbers of arrivals – collected and analyzed by Sky News – paint a different picture.
The figures, based on preliminary data released daily and weekly by the government, show a sharp increase in arrivals last year, a continuation of a long-standing trend that does not seem to stop.
At least 45,728 people are believed to have crossed the Channel into the UK in small boats by 2022, an increase of over 17,000 from the 28,526 who arrived in 2021.
Last year, 1,104 boats managed to reach the UK, a small increase from the 1,034 that made the journey in 2021.
This again sheds light on one of the most worrying trends: smugglers are putting more and more people aboard ever-larger dinghies, sometimes with deadly consequences.
In 2020, there were an average of 13 people aboard each dinghy, according to Sky News analysis, rising to 28 the following year.
Last year that number rose again to 41 and in the second half of the year even to 45 persons per boat.
Nearly 44% of days saw at least one person make the life-threatening journey to the UK, with arrivals on 159 separate days.
People waiting to cross the Channel say they have ‘no choice’
‘The cruel Channel killed them’
A decline in the use of ferries by people wanting to reach Britain – exacerbated by the pandemic – has seen a sharp rise in the number of people using dinghies in recent years.
The number of arrivals has increased by more than 15,000% compared to 2018, when only 299 people made the crossing by boat.
However, the overall number of asylum applications has risen slightly in recent years, suggesting that the way of reaching the UK has changed more than the number of people.
Despite increasing numbers, small boat arrivals in the UK remain much lower than the number of people arriving in Europe.
According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at least 154,290 people entered Europe through the Mediterranean by land and sea in 2022.
According to the same data, at least 1,939 people are estimated to be dead or missing.
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Director of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International UK, said: “Like last year, 2022 is drawing to a close after yet more tragic and largely avoidable deaths in the Channel.
It is a shame that even this latest disaster has not disengaged the government from its cruel and punitive asylum policies, including scapegoating people arriving by small boats.
“The Home Office’s own data speaks volumes: most people arriving in the UK come from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea, where torture, terror and brutal repression are rife.”
He called for “fundamental political change” and safe routes to asylum in the UK for people fleeing persecution, as well as an “end to mass detention”.
A government spokesman said: “The global migration crisis is putting unprecedented pressure on our asylum system.
“No one should endanger their life by making dangerous and illegal journeys.
“We will move forward to crack down on the gangs that are causing this, using all the resources at our disposal to deter illegal migration and disrupt the business model of people smugglers.”.