The Daily Telegraph

Channel migrants on course to hit 85,000 this year


CHANNEL migrants are on target to hit 85,000 this year, the Home Office fears, after the number of crossings doubled in the first two months of 2023.

A total of 2,950 migrants have reached the UK on small boats so far this year, compared with 1,484 in the first two months of 2022. This puts the Channel crossings on course to hit the upper estimate of the Home Office modelling of 85,000, compared with 45,728 in 2022 and 28,526 in 2021.

It will add to pressure on accommodat­ion, with 40,000 migrants being held in 200 hotels. Ministers are considerin­g extra payments to councils to take the migrants as well as identifyin­g 10,000 places at former military bases, student homes and disused holiday camps.

It emerged last week the backlog of asylum claimants has risen to 166,000 as ministers try to quadruple the number of cases processed by staff.

However, a government source said: “It is hard to see how we can make huge progress on this when 85,000 are going to cross this year.” A Home Office spokesman said: “Our new Small Boats Operationa­l Command, bolstered by hundreds of extra staff, is working... to disrupt the people smugglers.”

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