Eastern Eye (UK)
Sharp rise in Indians illegally crossing Channel in small boats
BRITAIN recorded a spike in Indians crossing over illegally into the country across the English Channel last year, with a total of 683 largely Indian men reported to have travelled via small boats.
Latest figures from the Home Office’s Irregular Migration to the UK report for the year ending December 2022 show a sharp rise from the 67 Indian nationals recorded to have crossed over in small boats in 2021; 64 in 2020 and none in 2019 and 2018.
The UK has a returns agreement with India under the Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP), which was referred to by prime minister Rishi Sunak in parliament last week. “We have returns agreements with India, Pakistan, Serbia, Nigeria and – crucially – now with Albania, where we are returning hundreds of people,” he told the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) last Wednesday (8).
“Our position is clear – if you arrive here illegally you will not be able to claim asylum here, you will not be able to access the modern slavery system and you will not be able to make spurious human rights claims. That is the right thing to do,” Sunak said.
According to Home Office data on irregular migration, there were also 400 Indian nationals who came under the category of “inadequately documented air arrivals” into the UK in 2022.
The majority of the “irregular arrivals” from India on small boats were men aged between of 25 and 40, out of a total of 45,755 arrivals in 2022.
The migrants were largely dominated by nationals from Albania and Afghanistan, followed by Iran, Iraq and Syria.
Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis were other nationalities recorded on the list.
It is believed that traffickers charge thousands of pounds to transport people illegally on small and often unsafe boats in the hope of claiming asylum in the UK.
Several deaths have occurred over the years as a result of such journeys, but the number of migrants undertaking these treacherous journeys has continued to spike manifold.
Sunak has made “Stop the Boats” one of his government’s top priorities, with home secretary Suella Braverman introducing a new illegal migration bill in parliament. The legislation would see anyone arriving illegally on “small boats” either returned to their home country or another “safe third country”.
Additionally, anyone found to have entered the country illegally will be blocked from returning to the UK or claiming British citizenship in future.
“It has to stop. By bringing in new laws, I am making it absolutely clear that the only route to the UK is a safe and legal route. If you come here illegally, you won’t be able to claim asylum or build a life here,” Braverman told the Commons earlier last week.
“You will not be allowed to stay. You will be returned home if safe, or to a safe third country like Rwanda. It’s the only way to prevent people risking their lives and paying criminals thousands of pounds to get here,” she added.