Europe

Ninety migrants cross Channel on Christmas Day

Rishi Sunak comments on the migrant boat incident

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Ninety people crossed the English Channel in just two small boats on Christmas day, the Ministry of Defence has revealed. Upon arrival in the UK they were taken to the Western Jet Foil processing centre in Dover. They were the first crossings recorded since December 21 and take the provisional total for migrants making the dangerous journey from France this year to 45,756.

Rishi Sunak has promised to tackle the problem of illegal migrants crossings, and announced a range of measures earlier this month. 

The Prime Minister confirmed 700 staff would be employed at a new unit to monitor small boat crossings in the Channel. 

Mr Sunak also promised more staff to help clear some of the UK’s backlog of asylum cases by the end of next year.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has drawn up a plan that would target foreign students, make it harder to bring spouses to the UK, and increase the minimum salaries for companies employing skilled workers, The Times reported.

Under a draft of the proposals, seen by the newspaper, the Government would increase the minimum income threshold for British citizens applying for a family visa.

Currently, a couple must earn at least £18,600 and may need thousands more for any children they seek to bring to the UK.

The plans could also make it harder for overseas students to bring dependants with them.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has previously suggested that the rules around student dependants are “ripe for reform” as he is concerned people are coming to university as a “backdoor way of bringing their families into the UK”.

On December 14, four people died and 39 others were rescued after a migrant boat got into difficulties on the Channel. 

A government spokesman said authorities were alerted at 03:05 GMT to a small boat in difficulty off the coast of Dungeness, 30 miles west of Dover.

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