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UK In ‘Advanced Talks’ With Nigeria, 4 Other African Countries On Rwanda-style Deal To Take Migrants

  • Talks came as number of Channel crossings hit highest daily total with more than 1,000 people believed to have come to Britain on Monday
  • 25 boats intercepted by Border Force and the Royal Navy on Sunday
  • Nigeria, Morocco, Namibia, Niger and Ghana all in discussions with UK
  • A total of 28,526 people crossed the Channel in 2021, up from 8,410 in 2020

The number of Channel migrants may hit its highest ever daily total with more than 1,000 people believed to have crossed yesterday – bringing the overall number this year to 21,000.

As many as 25 boats were intercepted by Border Force and the Royal Navy on Monday and escorted into Dover and Dungeness in the morning, before hundreds more people were brought ashore into the evening.

It comes as five African nations are now said to be in ‘advanced talks’ with UK over Rwanda-style deal.

Morocco, Nigeria, Namibia, Niger and Ghana are all in discussions with the government about receiving migrants rejected for asylum from the UK, The Times reports.

According to reports, as many as 1,000 people may have arrived yesterday, after three days without crossings.

The figure would surpass the current daily record total for the year of 696 set on August 1, while it would come within touching distance of the highest ever figure of 1,185 – set in November last year.

August is set to become a record month for the year with around 6,000 migrants having crossed the Channel so far, The Telegraph reports.

The highest ever total in a month is 6,878 in November. And yesterday the yearly total reached 21,000. The total did not pass 20,000 until November in 2021.

The first group on Sunday, which included a number of small children, was escorted into Dover by the RNLI shortly after midnight. 

It included a woman who had a tiny baby strapped to her front in a sling as she guided a toddler down the steps of the boat. She was closely followed by another woman carrying a baby dressed in a shark onesie.

Border Force vessel Ranger then brought more migrants into the port shortly before 10am yesterday. The mostly male group appearing cold, with blue blankets wrapped around their shoulders as they disembarked the boat.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel on Monday

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel on Monday

It comes as the total number of Channel migrants who have made it to UK waters on inflatable dinghies or other small craft since January 1 has now surpassed 21,000.

A total of 28,526 people crossed the English Channel in small boats in 2021 – compared to 8,410 who arrived in 2020, according to official government figures. 

Last week more than 600 hundred people arrived in a single day on Wednesday according to the official figures released by the Ministry of Defence.

There are also predictions that the numbers travelling to the UK could increase even further as the National Strategy for Maritime Security said up to 250,000 migrants will make come to the UK through the Channel by 2027.

The news comes as an FOI revealed that more than 50 migrants over 30 were registered as children in the last decade after lying about their age and officials fear migrants with no previous convictions are being drawn into serious crime to repay debts they owe people traffickers.

Channel migrants are now thought to be predominantly Albanians, with 5,000 having made the crossing so far this year.

Albanian drug lords are sending so-called ‘cleanskins’ with no criminal record to Britain to become embroiled in organised criminal gangs, reports the Mail+.

And checks on Channel arrivals are failing to pick up connections between some arrivals and human-traffickers in the Balkans, sources have said.

Lucy Moreton, a professional officer with Border Force workers union the ISU, says staff are facing ‘an increasing amount of violence’ from ‘a lot of young males’.

She said she two staff had been attacked in the past week and a further three bitten.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has been taking up the task of establishing a list of countries interested in agreeing a Rwanda-style deal.

An initial list of 20 countries was quickly reduced when ambassadors warned that seeking such agreements would damage relations.

Albania, North Macedonia and Moldova were among the initial list, but were removed following negative media coverage.

Tony Smith, former director general of Border Force, called the current migrant figures worrying, adding that it could lead to a reassessment of earlier estimates that 65,000 crossings would be made this year.

He said: ‘I still don’t see any end in sight. There’s nothing really that we can point to and say: “We are going to be able to stop this”. It is quite frustrating.’

A Government spokesperson said: ‘The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable.

‘Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws, but they risk lives and hinder our ability to help refugees who come to the UK through safe and legal routes.

‘The Nationality and Borders Act will enable us to crack down on abuse of the system and the evil people smugglers, who will now be subject to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

‘Under our new Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda, we are continuing preparations to relocate those who are making dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys into the UK in order for their claims to be considered and rebuild their lives.’

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