What Border Control? UK Expecting Record 65,000 Boat Migrants in 2023

A view of small boats and engines used to cross the Channel by people thought to be migrants at a warehouse facility in Dover, Kent. Picture date: Tuesday January 17, 2023. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

A record number of around 65,000 boat migrants are expected to cross the English Channel and enter the UK in 2023, government officials have reportedly said.

Officials from the UK’s Home Office reportedly expect that around 65,000 boat migrants will land on the shores of Britain this year, a report on Monday has claimed.

This figure would represent an over 40 per cent increase on last year’s all-time record of around 45,000 boat migrants, with 2023 already seeing hundreds of arrivals in Dover, located in the south of England.

According to a report by The Times,  government officials appear to have given up any pretence that the crisis will be brought under control this year, with even the most optimistic estimate for boat migrant arrivals in 2023 matching last year’s record high of around 45,000.

However, the paper claims that a median prediction of around 65,000 arrivals for this calendar year is deemed to be more realistic by officials, with the worst-case scenario prediction being as high as 80,000 should both France and Britain be unable to get a grip on the people-smuggler facilitated crossings.

The Home Office has also reportedly confirmed that it will be recruiting an extra 100 staff to work at Dover for the purposes of processing the tens of thousands of arrivals, with both UK Ministers and the Treasury seemingly expected to sign off on the funding needed for the new hires.

Despite UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak using his first speech of 2023 in part to promise to “stop the boats” used to traffic migrants to Britain, Home Office statistics predicting that — even in the best-case scenario — English Channel crossings will remain at a record high seem to contradict this claim.

Such predictions are not the only thing to indicate that the ongoing migrant crisis will continue, however, with The Times also reporting hundreds of more foreign arrivals as landing in Britain on Sunday.

Though, at the time of writing, the government has yet to officially confirm the number of arrivals, the broadsheet paper claimed that it is thought that it more than doubled the figure of migrants who crossed the channel so far in January.

Home Office officials nevertheless insist that they are getting on with implementing measures to combat the crisis, with the government reportedly planning to hand powers to the Home Secretary allowing them to block foreign individuals from claiming asylum in the UK if they arrive in the country illegally.

Sources within the government also reportedly claim that they are working on making it so that the Home Office — the workforce of which has often been reluctant to enforce the UK’s borders — has a legal obligation to automatically remove illegal arrivals from Britain.

Whether such a scheme ever comes to fruition is another matter entirely, however, with the Conservative Party government so far failing to get any significant border control measure across the line since the beginning of last year.

For instance, the UK has still not been able to send any boat migrants to Rwanda despite initially announcing the scheme last Spring, with attempts to see illegal arrivals sent abroad being repeatedly scuppered by legal challenges in both British and European courts.

To make matters worse, of those arriving in the country, a significant number have links to criminality, with the likes of a serial pedophile and Islamic State jihadist being found amongst those using the illegal route to get into Britain.

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