Taxpayers are paying £5.6million a day to house tens of thousands of asylum seekers in hotels after the Home Office managed to process just four per cent of asylum claims from people who crossed the Channel last year, it emerged today.
A total of 28,526 people made the perilous journey in 2020/21, and of those who claimed asylum 85 per cent were granted it, Dan O’Mahoney, Border Force clandestine threat commander, told the Home Affairs Select Committee.
However, 96 per cent of migrants who applied for asylum still have their claims outstanding, with many of these people housed in hotels due to a shortage of official accommodation.
More than 26,000 asylum seekers were waiting in hotels at the end of 2021, according to the Refugee Council. Meanwhile, the total number of people with an open asylum claim recently soared past 100,000.
Today, it also emerged that the proportion of attempted crossings that were being intercepted by French police has fallen, from around 50 per cent last year to 42.5 per cent so far in 2022.
The French have stopped 28,000 migrants from crossing in 1,072 boats this year, Mr O’Mahoney told MPs.
A total of 28,526 people tried to cross the Channel in small boats last year. Pictured are migrants on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, on October 12
He accepted this was a lower percentage but stressed it was a ‘much, much bigger number’, telling how French authorities had stopped 28,000 migrants crossing the Channel and intercepted and destroyed 1,072 boats so far this year.
‘I should put on record my thanks to the French … this is around double what they managed to achieve last year, so that is really, really significant,’ Mr O’Mahoney said.
But he added: ‘It is correct to say that migrants can attempt to cross on more than one occasion and therefore those 28,000 migrants may not be individual, different migrants, so it’s 28,000 attempts.’
Curbing the increase in migrants risking their lives by crossing the Channel will be one of the main priorities for Rishi Sunak as he begins his term as Prime Minister.
In France migrants are not detained and processed after being caught attempting to cross the Channel. Mr O’Mahoney said French laws make it ‘difficult for French officers to take any action in that way’.
He told the committee French beach patrols in the north of the country were only ‘one brick in the wall’ of the efforts to curb Channel crossings.
Work by the UK and French authorities have led to 55 serious organised crime gangs behind such crossings being ‘dismantled’ since a joint intelligence cell was set up in France a couple of years ago, he added.
More than 38,000 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in over 900 boats in 2022 to date, compared with 28,526 last year.
Migrants are brought to shore at Dungeness by the RNLI in two lifeboats on October 12
In October alone, at least 5,000 have made the journey, according to provisional Government figures, but no crossings were recorded by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Monday or Tuesday.
Mr Sunak has committed to continuing the Government’s bid to send migrants who enter the UK illegally to Rwanda. But the £120million scheme has still yet to get going, amid a series of legal challenges, despite it being announced back in April.
Former Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled the plans as a means of clamping down on the number of migrants making perilous journeys to Britain across the Channel.
Mr Sunak will have to decide how he will push forward with the scheme, including possibly overhauling Britain’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights.
And, if the scheme continues to stall, the PM will have decide on what further action to take to try to stem the number of migrants arriving in small boats.
Suella Braverman was reinstalled as Home Secretary yesterday just six days after being forced out for breaking the Ministerial Code.
Suella Braverman was reinstalled as Home Secretary yesterday just six days after being forced out for breaking the Ministerial Code
Earlier this month, Ms Braverman set out new plans which would ban migrants who cross the Channel from claiming asylum and said it was her ‘dream’ to see a government flight deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.
‘We have to stop the boats crossing the Channel. This has gone on for far too long,’ Ms Braverman told the Conservative Party conference.
‘I will pledge to you today that I will bring forward legislation to make it clear that the only route to the United Kingdom is through a safe and legal route.’
The new powers would go further than existing legislation and were designed to create a blanket ban on anyone who enters Britain illegally, including on small boats across the English Channel, from claiming refuge, a government source said.
Charity Care4Calais called the government’s proposals ‘barbaric, untruthful and unnecessary’ and said most asylum seekers who come to Britain are genuine refugees.