UK and France to clamp down on Channel migrants with more patrols and British staff in French control rooms

14 November 2022, 06:37 | Updated: 14 November 2022, 10:34

Britain and France strike a deal on Channel migrants
Britain and France strike a deal on Channel migrants. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

The UK and France have signed a historic deal to tackle the small boats crisis that will cost Brits millions of pounds more each year.

The deal to clamp down on migrant crossings will see a boost to beach patrols and put British staff in French control rooms for the first time.

The annual amount paid by the UK will increase to 72 million euros (£63 million).

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: "We must do everything we can to stop people making these dangerous journeys and crack down on the criminal gangs.

"This is a global challenge requiring global solutions, and it is in the interests of both the UK and French governments to work together to solve this complex problem.

"There are no quick fixes but this new arrangement will mean we can significantly increase the number of French gendarmes patrolling the beaches in northern France and ensure UK and French officers are working hand in hand to stop the people smugglers."

Home Secretary Signs Deal With France To Tackle Channel Migrants
Home Secretary Signs Deal With France To Tackle Channel Migrants. Picture: Getty
Suella Braverman with her French counterpart this morning. Picture: Getty
Migrants Arrive On Kent Coast
Migrants Arrive On Kent Coast. Picture: Getty

Read more: 'Rogue state' Russia won't hold Britain hostage, Sunak vows at G20

Rishi Sunak hailed the deal as contributing to his efforts to "grip illegal migration", which he said has consumed much of his time in No 10 so far.

The Prime Minister said he was "confident" the number of small boat crossings would come down over time after the number of people making the perilous journey to the UK across the Channel so far this year topped 40,000.

"I've been honest that there's not a single thing to do to fix it and we can't fix it overnight," Mr Sunak said.

"But there's a range of things I'm working on, including the French deal, where I'm confident we can bring the numbers down over time and that's what I'm going to deliver."

The Prime Minister and French President Emmanuel Macron embraced at the UN climate change conference last week during their first face-to-face encounter since Mr Sunak entered No 10.

The Financial Times cited French officials as saying the number of officers on patrol would increase from 200 to 300 by the middle of 2023, up from 90 in 2018, with the cost falling on Britain.

More than 40,000 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK so far this year, according to Government data, with 972 people detected on Saturday in 22 boats. In 2021, there were 28,561 recorded.

The arrivals on Saturday were the first since October 31 when 46 people were detected in one boat.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick set out several actions the UK plans to take at home to tackle the small boats crisis in an article for the Sunday Telegraph, warning that the idea of "Hotel Britain" must be ended to disincentivise "asylum shopping".

Migrants are to be housed in "simple, functional" spaces as opposed to "luxury" rooms, he said, claiming the country's "generosity" towards refugees is being "abused" by people "skipping the queue".

The Home Office minister also cautioned that Britain's modern slavery laws must not lead to exploitation by illegitimate claimants.

He also said the Government intends to "bust the backlog of asylum claims" by "cutting red tape" and rolling out a pilot in Leeds that "doubled" the productivity of officials.