Migrants crossing English Channel mostly refugees, NGO says


A new study by the NGO, Refugee Council, revealed that majority of people who cross the English Channel in small boats are refugees, contradicting claims by the British government that 70% of arrivals are “economic migrants”.

The study said that those who make the crossing are likely to be allowed to remain in the UK as refugees, with approximately 30% of those arriving in Britain not deemed to have fled persecution.

Refugee Council workers used Freedom of Information powers to find that 91% of people came from just 10 countries where persecution is rife, such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. Home Office data shows that 98% of those who cross the Channel claim asylum.

Home Secretary Priti Patel told a parliamentary committee three weeks ago that 70% of those crossing on small boats have been “single men who are effectively economic migrants and not genuine asylum seekers.”

She said that the use of hotels as asylum accommodation had created a “pull factor” for migrants to attempt illegal crossings.

Refugee Council Chief Executive Enver Solomon said: “The reality is that people who come to the UK by taking terrifying journeys in small boats across the Channel do so because they are desperately seeking safety having fled persecution, terror and oppression.” (Source: Arab News)