Europe

Issue of ‘male migrants’ dates back several years, Home Office figures show

Migrants arrive in UK as Patel plans tighter asylum rules

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Outlining her immigration shake-up last week, Priti Patel confirmed the high number of men coming via the Channel had continued in 2020, when the total number of arrivals grew to around 8,500, with 74 percent of them men aged 18-39. She asked Parliament to consider why there were so few asylum claims from vulnerable women and children, who the system was set up to protect.

But figures obtained by the Sunday Express show the issue has been going on far longer. They show that in 2018, when small boat crossings were a major issue after security improvements at Calais, 299 people came to the UK that way.

Of these, 261 were adult males and 25 were children. In December that year, then Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared the crossings a major incident, and a task force was set up to monitor and deal with the problem.

But in 2019 there were 1,844 arrivals, of which 1,402 were men and 307 were children.

From the start of 2018 to the end of 2019, 2,143 arrived in the boats but just 141 (6.6 percent) were returned anywhere.

Alp Mehmet, chairman of campaign group Migration Watch, which calls for stricter immigration controls, said: “These figures are an eye-opener and confirm what we have long said about those crossing the Channel illegally to claim asylum, that they are mostly young men and irrespective of whether or not their claims are successful, few are returned.”

The Home Office initially refused to provide the statistics, amid claims they were held on separate databases. But the Sunday Express argued that once the issue was declared a major incident the figures should have been routinely collated.

After nearly two years of appeals and the intervention of the Information Commissioner, the Home Office provided them.

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