Channel migrant crossings hit new monthly record as thousands more arrive on UK shores

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The Ministry of Defence said 532 people crossed the English Channel in 11 small boats on Wednesday. It takes the total for August to a record 6,925.

The total number of people who have arrived in the UK so far in 2022 stands at 23,324.

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel has unveiled a plan to curb the number of Albanians navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats such as dinghies.

Albanians were rarely seen on migrant boats arriving on the south coast before this year.

But officials now believe this is the dominant nationality in the Channel crossings.

Some 2,165 were recorded as arriving between January and June 2022, compared with just 23 in the same period the previous year, according to a Home Office report published today.

Officials say between 50 percent and 60 percent of arrivals are now thought to be from the south-eastern European country.

Ms Patel has struck a deal with the Albanian government to step-up police activity and fast-track removals.

A delegation is due to arrive next week to discuss how the two countries can tackle the rising numbers.

As part of the agreement between Ms Patel and Bledi Cuci, Albania’s minister for interior affairs, Albanian police are to be sent to ports to work alongside UK authorities, providing intelligence and observing migrants being processed.

It is hoped the operation will begin within days of the delegation’s visit.

The pair have also pledged to speed up removals of Albanians with no right to be in the UK from next week.

Ms Patel said: “Large numbers of Albanians are being sold lies by ruthless people smugglers and vicious organised crime gangs, leading them to take treacherous journeys in flimsy boats to the UK.

“This abuse of our immigration system and people risking their lives cannot go on.

“Thanks to our excellent levels of co-operation with Albania, we will take every opportunity to speed up removals of Albanians with no right to be in the UK.

“I want to thank my counterpart Bledi Cuci for the work he and his Government are doing, we are both steadfast in our commitment to stop this trend.”

Officials do not know definitively what is behind the surge but believe it could driven by organised crime.

Lucy Moreton, from the ISU union which represents Border Force officers, said: “Members report the working hypothesis that the recent increases in Albanians is to replace those who have been arrested, imprisoned and/or deported as a result of increased police activity in the organised crime sphere.

“This is a hypothesis only, but does make sense.”

It comes four months after plans were unveiled to send migrants to Rwanda in a bid to curb Channel crossings.

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