Europe

Up to 4,000 rejected Channel migrants still in the UK, Home Office figures show

Brexit won’t stop Channel migrants claims Nick Gibb

Statistics for the period between January 2018 and June 30 this year reveal that 4,613 people entered the country after making the treacherous journey. Of those, 4,562 made asylum claims that they were fleeing war or persecution in their home country. However, only 429 have been granted asylum or other humanitarian protection. The Home Office figures showed the remainder of the asylum claims were either refused or no decision had been made.

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A series of home secretaries and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have previously pledged the majority of Channel migrants would be returned to France or other European countries, as they should be able to claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.

However, the Home Office has admitted that between January 1 last year and the end of September this year just 231 had been sent back.

Since June there has been a surge of crossings, with an estimated 6,000 more people coming into the country via the Channel, all organised by ruthless people smugglers.

Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK, which campaigns for tougher border controls, said: “Illegal Channel crossings have increased exponentially this year, not only because the Government has done little to discourage them but because they almost always prove successful.

“Most of those who reach the UK get to stay – very few are sent back.

“The immediate return of those making the attempt is the only way to deal with the problem. Abs-conding is rife and the removal rate of those with no right to be here is pitifully low. All of which is a boon to traffickers.”

Last month the Sunday Express revealed that large numbers of Channel migrants, who could have been returned to France or other countries, are now on the run in the UK after fleeing.

David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, revealed in a report that many migrants who crossed the Channel and were not eligible for asylum were not held in immigration detention centres. Instead, they were bailed, with large numbers apparently going on the run.

The news comes as a separate row over the deportation of foreign national offenders escalated when 37 out of 50 convicted criminals due to be flown to Jamaica were granted reprieves after human rights lawyers lodged last-minute appeals.

It followed pressure from Labour MPs and campaigning celebrities.

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