Over 21,000 Illegal Migrants Entered Britain Undetected Last Year

A migrant climbs into the back of lorries bound for Britain while traffic is stopped upon
DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

Approximately 21,000 illegal migrants clandestinely entered the United Kingdom without being detected by border officials, according to Home Office figures obtained by the Times of London.

On top of the record 54,563 migrants who landed on British beaches after crossing the English Channel in small boats launched from the coasts of France, an additional 21,000 entered without detection through other means, such as on the back of lorries, through airports, or as stowaways on ferries.

Another 9,000 migrants, per Home Office figures seen by The Times, were detected as coming to the country by illegal means before going on to apply for asylum.

The figures were estimated based on the number of people who applied for asylum last year while claiming that they arrived in other ways besides small boats across the Channel. Although some may have arrived prior to last year, it is typically the case that most illegals immediately apply for asylum upon reaching the country.

According to government data acquired by the supermarket industry magazine The Grocer, some 18,420 undetected illegals entered into the country in 2021, but this fell by around 50 per cent last year. However, industry sources said that such a decline did not match up with the realities on the ground, with supermarkets and food supplier depots often finding migrants hidden as stowaways on the backs of lorries as food from other countries come into the country.

For example, the supermarket Sainsbury’s reportedly has to throw away one full truck’s worth of fresh produce every ten days for fear of contamination from illegal migrants hidden in lorries.

The report comes as around 15,000 illegals have been recorded as having crossed the English Channel since the start of the year, with another 262 migrants being brought ashore on Friday. While the total is around 12 per cent fewer than this time last year, it is a far cry from fulfilling Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to stop the boats.

The reality that tens of thousands 0f migrants are still entering the country via different methods than small boats also calls into question the government’s decision to place such a heavy emphasis on the boats, alone.

Although the government was able to finally pass legislation last month to reform the British immigration system, which included preventing those who enter the country illegally from applying for asylum, major hurdles remain in tackling the issue.

A chief obstacle is that the government’s deterrence strategy of sending illegals to processing centres in Rwanda rather remains in legal limbo, meaning that such migrants will likely continue to be put up in hotels or other accommodations throughout the country rather than being removed.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are relentless in our pursuit of those who seek to enter the UK illegally. Border Force have robust measures in place to detect clandestine entrants into the UK and stand ready to respond to any methods deployed.

“In the first quarter of 2023, Immigration Enforcement teams delivered 3,228 enforcement visits, a 53 per cent increase on the same period last year, and since the PM set out his plan to stop the boats in December, arrests have more than doubled since the same period last year.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter: or e-mail to: kzindulka@breitbart.com


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