The Prime Minister’s plan to stop the boats is beginning to work, the Government has reported, with small boat arrivals to the UK down by 20% this year.

This is the first time since the small boat phenomenon began that arrivals in the first half of the year fell compared to the year before. This is not a Europe-wide trend – small boat arrivals to Europe are up 30%.

The Prime Minister set out the progress that has been made on this, one of his five priorities, on a visit to Dover this morning. He also confirmed that:

  • The UK’s “French deal” prevented 33,000 illegal crossings last year, 40% more than the year before
  • Thanks to the UK’s partnership with the Government of Albania, Albanian small boat arrivals are down 90% year-on-year and we have returned more than 1,800 Albanian illegal migrants and foreign criminals on weekly flights since December
  • The UK have increased the number of illegal working raids by more than 50%, and arrests have more than doubled
  • The legacy asylum backlog is down almost a fifth since December – and the UK is on track to deliver a target to clear this by the end of the year

During his statement, the Prime Minister made clear that we still face significant obstacles, and we will see more crossings in the months ahead, but he is determined to stay the course and do what it takes to fix this problem.

The Prime Minister also announced the next steps in the Government’s relentless efforts to get illegal migrants out of expensive hotels and into alternative sites, including confirming that the Government has secured two new vessels. These plans will see thousands moved out of hotels by the Autumn.

The Home Secretary gave a further update on these accommodation plans during a statement in the House of Commons.