Border Force intercepts 30 migrants including a one-legged amputee

Border Force intercepts around 30 migrants including one-legged amputee on dangerous Channel crossing amid 55F sunshine

  • The amputee was pushed up the gangway on wheelchair while holding crutches
  • He was on board the second boat of the day and was brought into Dover Marina
  • Migrants were also processed next to women huddling red blankets for warmth
  • They walked up the gangway wearing orange life-jackets and disposable masks

Border Force today intercepted around 30 migrants crossing the English Channel – including a man with one leg.

The amputee was seen being pushed up the gangway on a wheelchair provided by officers while he held on to his crutches.

He was on board the second boat of the day and was brought into Dover Marina, Kent, on the back of the cutter Alert.

Migrants, who appeared to be Vietnamese, were also processed alongside women huddling red blankets for warmth.

It comes as figures show the UK granted asylum or offered some form of protection to almost 10,000 people last year – falling by more than half that of 2019.

The amputee was seen being pushed up the gangway on a wheelchair provided by officers while he held on to his crutches

Migrants, who appeared to be Vietnamese, were also processed alongside women huddling red blankets for warmth

They were walked up the gangway wearing orange life-jackets and disposable face masks by immigration enforcement officers

They were walked up the gangway wearing orange life-jackets and disposable face masks by immigration enforcement officers.

Their inflatable grey rigid hulled inflatable boat with oars inside was towed in shortly afterwards and moored in the harbour.

The first boat arrived in the dead of night at around 1.30am with around 10 people on board.

French authorities were also called to rescue a boat in difficulty around five miles north west of Calais.

Coastal maritime surveillance boat (VCSM) Scarpe, of the maritime gendarmerie, picked up five migrants and brought them back to France at 1.36am.

It has been a busy week for Border Force as 49 migrants arrived in four boats on Monday followed by 77 in four boats on Tuesday.

The UK granted asylum or offered some form of protection to almost 10,000 people last year – falling by more than half that of 2019 (file photo)

A total of 188 have made the treacherous 21-mile journey in February so far after 223 arrived last month.

The Home Office is yet to confirm how many migrants have been detained today. So far this year, 411 migrants have crossed the Channel.

It comes after a record 8.410 arrived last year – dwarfing 2019’s total of 1,850.

Figures this week showed the UK granted asylum or offered some form of protection to almost 10,000 people last year – falling by more than half that of 2019.

Protection in the form of asylum, humanitarian protection, alternative forms of leave and resettlement was offered to 9,936 people in 2020, said the Home Office.

This figure is 52 per cent lower than in 2019 and is the lowest level since 2014. 

The Home Office said the fall in the latest year is due to fewer initial decisions being made on asylum applications – 14,365 last year compared with 20,766 in 2019 – as well as the pause to resettlement activity since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts Chris Philp said: ‘These figures show how broken the asylum system is, which is why we are working as fast as possible to fix it. 

The number of people offered protection in the form of resettlement (bottom line), asylum and alternative forms of leave (middle line) totalled 9,936 in 2020. The total number of people granted asylum or some form of protection (top line) fell by more than half that of 2019

‘We will deliver a long-term plan to make the system firm and fair, which removes people who have no right to be here while providing protection to those who genuinely need our help.

‘We have already changed the law meaning those who have travelled through safe countries will have their asylum cases treated as inadmissible.’

There were 823 grants of protection through resettlement schemes in 2020, 85 per cent fewer than in the previous year.

The vast majority were resettled in the first quarter before resettlement activity was paused during the second and third quarter of 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.

The Home Office recommenced resettlement activity in December 2020 when eight refugees were resettled.

There were 29,456 asylum applications in the UK in 2020, an 18 per cent decrease from the previous year.

The Home Office said this latest figure will have been impacted by the measures taken in response to Covid-19.

In 2020, there were 14,365 initial decisions made on asylum applications, and 46 per cent of these were grants of asylum, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave – a decrease of 52 per cent compared with the previous year.

The number of asylum applications lodged in the UK in the years ending December 2011 to December last year, dropping after the Covid pandemic was declared

The top 10 nationalities claiming asylum in the UK and the grant rate at initial decision (shown by percentage) in 2019 and 2020. The most applications in both 2019 and 2020 came from Iran, while Eritrea and Syria had the highest grant rates last year 

The immigration statistics also show that there were an estimated 39.5 million passenger arrivals in 2020 (including returning UK residents) – a 73 per cent (106.8million) decrease compared with 2019.

The Home Office said this was driven by significantly fewer passenger journeys in the last three quarters of 2020, when there was an 87 per cent (101.7million) decrease compared with the same period in the previous year, due to the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.

Figures show there were just under one million visas granted in 2020, 69 per cent fewer than the previous year.

Of these, 51 per cent were to visit, 23 per cent were to study (excluding short-term study), 13 per cent were to work, four per cent were for family, and nine per cent were for other reasons.

The figures also show that there were 170,692 applications for British citizenship in 2020, two per cent fewer than 2019.

The number of asylum applicants to the top five countries in the EU+ and the UK for the years ending November 2014 to November last year, with Italy receiving the smallest number of applications in 2020. The other EU+ category includes all other countries that are European Union member states, part of the European Economic Area and Switzerland 

Applications for citizenship by EU nationals rose by 20 per cent compared with the previous year to 59,229.

EU nationals now account for 35 per cent of all citizenship applications compared with 12 per cent in 2016, while applications made by non-EU nationals fell by 11 per cent in 2020 to 111,463.

There were 130,568 grants of British citizenship in 2020, 18 per cent fewer than the previous year.

The Home Office said this fall was due in part to the pandemic response and comes after a period of relative stability since 2014.

The statistics also state that the number of people entering detention in 2020 was 14,773, 40 per cent fewer than the previous year.

Although in part affected by the pandemic, the Home Office said this continues a general downward trend since 2015 when the number entering detention peaked at more than 32,000.  

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