Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

(asked on 17th November 2021) - View Source

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of small boat crossings in the Channel.


Answered by
Tom Pursglove Portrait
Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
This question was answered on 24th November 2021

I refer the Honourable Gentleman to the answer that I gave him on this matter on 28 October. I reiterate that these crossings are dangerous and unnecessary, and that we are determined to bring them to an end and to tackle the criminality behind them.

This is part of a wider European and global migration issue and we expect our international partners to engage with us to stop people making perilous crossings. We continue to work closely with France and other countries to make these crossings unviable, but we are clear that more needs to be done.

We welcome French Interior Minister Darmanin’s suggestion that 100% of crossings could be prevented with the help of the UK’s recent £54m package of support. That package is strengthening law enforcement deployments along the coast of France, more than doubling again equipped police resource focused on addressing illegal migration; it is enhancing intelligence-sharing and making greater use of surveillance technology; and it is supporting more border security at key transport infrastructure along the Channel coast.

Nearly 20,000 crossings have been prevented this year despite the number of attempts almost trebling. So far this year there have been 46 arrests made by Immigration Enforcement of those involved in facilitating these crossings. There have been 9 convictions, attracting over 17 years in custodial sentences. Recognising that much of the criminality involved lies outside of the UK, we are also supporting wider law enforcement activity to tackle the threat of organised immigration crime. Between July 2020 and October 2021, the Joint Intelligence Cell has been involved in over 400 arrests relating to small boats activity in France, and has seen 17 organised crime groups involved in Channel crossings dismantled.

Tragically, we have seen a number of people lost at sea in recent weeks attempting these crossings. As I have said previously, we must ensure that those involved in people smuggling are punished with the severity it rightly deserves. The Nationality and Borders Bill (Nationality and Borders Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament (https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3023)) will enable this and will also act as a much stronger deterrent for those tempted to pursue that despicable path. These long overdue reforms will break the business model of the criminal trafficking networks and make their activities unviable.

Our New Plan for Immigration will address the challenge of illegal migration for the first time in over two decades through comprehensive reform of our asylum system, making big changes and building a new system that is fair but firm.

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Recent Documents related to Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

1. English Channel Migrant Boat Crossings
07/03/2019 - Parliamentary Research

Found: English Channel Migrant Boat Crossings Summary In December 2018, there was an increase in the number of

2. UK and France sign action plan to tackle small boat crossings
24/01/2019 - Border Force
- View source

Found: UK and France sign action plan to tackle small boat crossings - GOV.UK

3. UK and France sign action plan to tackle small boat crossings
24/01/2019 - Home Office
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Found: UK and France sign action plan to tackle small boat crossings - GOV.UK

4. French patrols doubled to tackle migrant crossings
15/10/2019 - Border Force
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Found: French patrols doubled to tackle migrant crossings - GOV.UK document

5. Twenty three arrests made in people smuggling investigations
24/09/2019 - Border Force
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Found: News and communications Home Entering and staying in the UK Border control

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

1. Channel Crossings in Small Boats
02/09/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on those crossing - Speech Link
2: migration through small-boat crossings from France to the UK. This Government and the Home Secretary are working - Speech Link

2. Oral Answers to Questions
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3. Oral Answers to Questions
18/10/2021 - Commons Chamber

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3: that we need to address. The taskforce has made a number of recommendations and, although I cannot give - Speech Link

4. Channel Crossings in Small Boats
22/11/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: The number of people coming into our country illegally on small boats is unacceptable. It is the result - Speech Link
2: dangerous shipping lanes this year alone. As the Home Secretary knows, the Government have already spent more - Speech Link

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