Boats seen crossing Channel as arrivals ‘pass 25,000’ people so far this year

More migrants have been spotted crossing the English Channel as the total number of arrivals this year is thought to have passed the 25,000 mark.

Several boats were seen travelling to shores in Kent on Monday, as the latest data for crossings on Sunday brought the official total for this year to 24,858.

Hundreds of people were seen disembarking Border Force vessels after the small boat incident in the English Channel on Monday morning.

An eyewitness said they saw a few women, one small child and the majority men who arrived during the misty, foggy morning.

While official Home Office data for Monday’s arrivals will not be published until Tuesday, it is thought the 25,000 milestone would have been reached.

The total number this year is still lower than arrivals on the same date last year when 33,001 people were reported in Home Office records.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought to Dover, Kent, from a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel(Gareth Fuller/PA)

On Saturday, nine boats were intercepted carrying a total of 537 migrants crossing the English Channel in the highest number recorded for the week so far.

Latest data from the Home Office shows 28 people arrived in one boat on Sunday, October 1.

The new arrivals also come as the Conservative Party conference is under way in Manchester.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to stop the Channel boats – one of his five commitments to the electorate ahead of a likely general election next year.

Last week, ahead of the party conference, Home Secretary Suella Braverman gave a speech to a centre-right think tank in Washington DC, warning that the West faced an “existential” threat if countries were not able to control their borders in the face of unauthorised arrivals.

She also argued that being discriminated against for being gay or a woman should not grant a person refugee status in the UK, which prompted a backlash, including from her own party.

Speaking from the Conservative Party conference on Monday, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt appeared to distance himself from Ms Braverman’s migration speech as he told Talk TV he “wouldn’t use her words”.

Meanwhile, a study by the Refugee Council released on Monday found that three-quarters of people who have crossed the Channel on small boats this year would be recognised as refugees if their application had been processed.