9,000 migrants have arrived in the UK via the English Channel so far in 2022

As the UK tightens its asylum policies, many migrants are trying to get to the country before breakthrough changes are enacted into law. This week marked a new record of at least 9,000 people arriving on British shores since the start of 2022.

According to the British press association (Pennsylvania) news agency, more than 9,000 people have crossed the English Channel from France to Great Britain since the beginning of the year.

Last week alone, authorities counted 685 arrivals on British shores in just five days, with the number of arrivals for May already three times the number for the same month last year. the Pennsylvania The news agency said its reporting was based on UK government data.

UK migration policy is unwittingly fueling migration

The figures could be on the rise due to developments in the UK’s asylum system since leaving the European Union (“Brexit”): the Conservative government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes first to deter migrants and refugees to come to the country. . To that end, it changed its asylum laws to penalize people arriving in the UK by irregular means, such as boat trips or clandestine journeys in freight trucks.

Many migrants in the future, even if they are genuine refugees, will no longer be granted asylum and will instead be granted a status close to subsidiary protection, which has fewer benefits. Migrants, often deceived by smugglers, are believed to be urged to act quickly and get to the UK before asylum laws change.

More recently, the government decided to sign an agreement with the government of Rwanda, according to which irregular migrants would be sent from the United Kingdom to Rwanda to seek asylum there. The agreement with the East African country stipulates that Britain will provide the country with financial incentives in return.

Read more: Dramatic changes to UK asylum law for irregular migrants

Rwanda plans to move forward despite reservations

Even though this agreement has already been signed, it may still not be enacted as experts have questioned its legality. Despite this, a number of migrants who recently arrived in the UK have already been detained, with a view to being sent back to Rwanda. This has been confirmed by the UK Home Office; however, authorities declined to disclose the exact number of people to be sent to Rwanda.

According to The Guardian newspaper, among those detained for deportation to Rwanda are a group of Sudanese nationals who had crossed the English Channel on 9 May. An unknown number of Albanian citizens and at least one Afghan refugee were also among those placed in the detention center and intended to be sent to the small African nation. They would all have arrived in the UK by mid-May.

A British court has meanwhile reportedly urged the British government to wait until at least June 6 to carry out the first deportations to Kigali, while legal challenges continue. UK Justice Minister Dominic Raab said only around 100 people would be sent to Rwanda each year, representing less than 0.5% of annual irregular migration to the UK.

Read more: Rwanda prepares for first transfer of asylum seekers from UK

Ties between France and the UK are strained after the UK blames France for the drowning deaths of 27 people in the English Channel | Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

UNHCR is one of many agencies that have criticized the Rwandan plan, saying sending money abroad to effectively outsource immigration procedures cannot “replace states’ responsibility and obligation to welcome asylum seekers and protect refugees on their own territory – regardless of race”. , nationality and mode of arrival,” the organization said on Twitter earlier this week.

Read more: World population of displaced people now tops 100 million, says UN

With dpa, PA, Guardian