Small Boat Returns Almost Non-existent, Home Office Admits


This is a preview of Migration Watch’s free weekly newsletter. You can read the full version here.

The recent focus on the Channel crisis has revealed a striking statistic: only one percent of small boat arrivals since 2020 have been sent back to their home country.

We knew that the number of enforced returns had dropped to a paltry level (see the chart below), but this recent revelation vividly highlights the Home Office’s struggle to deport illegal immigrants.

The information came to light through written evidence submitted to the Home Affairs committee. In this evidence, the Home Office acknowledged that out of 111,833 illegal migrants who entered the UK by small boat, only 1,182 were removed or sent to their home country. More concerning is that, despite the government’s year-old agreement with Albania to boost returns, only five per cent of Albanian arrivals since 2020 have been sent back.

This whole debacle is intricately tied to the colossal backlog of asylum cases that the government seems utterly incapable of sorting out. The hope of resolving 92,000 legacy cases by the end of the year is now nothing more than a dream.

Instead of efficiently dealing with cases more likely to face rejection (such as Albanian nationals), the government’s absurd response was to fast-track those cases with a higher chance of getting asylum. To make matters worse, our human rights laws and international agreements are woefully outdated, making it exceedingly challenging to deport illegal immigrants.

It’s a topsy-turvy system that has left the least deserving asylum seekers lounging indefinitely in taxpayer-funded hotels, all while the government fumbles its way through. For the gritty details, check out the Times report here.

Over in Westminster, the government presented its emergency Rwanda legislation for a second reading. While a notable group of Conservative MPs had hinted at voting against the bill, they eventually chose to abstain, opting to advocate for amendments at a later stage of the Bill’s passage. Specifically, they aim to eliminate the possibility for asylum seekers to appeal against being relocated to Rwanda.

This situation puts the Prime Minister on the horns of a dilemma. Any modifications to the legislation risk losing the backing of Conservatives from the liberal ‘One Nation’ group, led by former immigration minister Damien Green, who adamantly opposes additional amendments. Both factions, however, are wary of witnessing a decline in the Prime Minister’s authority, especially as we near the next general election.

All we would add to this sorry tale, which has generated more heat than light, is to take note of what Robert Jenrick had to say when he stepped down from the frontbench last Wednesday. Maintaining that the Rwanda bill is too weak, Jenrick warned it would just keep feeding a never-ending cycle of legal challenges from migrants. And we agree with him, for so long as the Bill allows for individuals to appeal against their removal, cases will get mired in the courts.

Will any flights take off for Rwanda before the election with meaningful numbers on them? We very much doubt it.

Meanwhile, legal migration continues unabated and in substantial numbers. Net migration was a record-breaking 745,00 in 2022, followed by a staggering 672,000 in 2023. Legal migration far surpasses the numbers of illegal Channel crossers, yet the government opts not to reduce those numbers, despite possessing the tools to do so. Perhaps that is why the government seeks to divert our attention to the Channel?

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) released its annual report on Wednesday. You can read the Daily Mail’s summary here. For the key points are:

  • Introducing a cap on numbers is the only practical way to control legal migration.
  • Housing and rental costs have gone up, partly due to the impact of immigration.
  • The scarcity of British-born care workers is connected to inadequate wages and working conditions.
  • Bringing in low-skilled migrants to fill these positions poses various long-term challenges for both the Treasury and the quality of care.
  • Growth in international postgraduate students has been strongest in the less prestigious universities.
  • Partners and children of students, who are considered ‘dependants’, enjoy taxpayer-funded services like healthcare and education.

Migration Watch UK has been making these arguments for years. That the MAC recognises and accepts these facts is to be welcomed. The full 59-page report can be found here.

Finally, this week we have updated our Channel Migrant Map with all the latest data, you can access that here.

This is a preview of Migration Watch’s free weekly newsletter. You can read the full version here.

15th December 2023 - Newsletters

Blog Post

Print Blog Entry

Share Article


Powered by FeedBlitz