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Undocumented Migrants: English Channel

Question for Home Office

UIN HL5035, tabled on 2 June 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have about whether French border patrol ships are systematically monitoring or shadowing migrant boats across the English Channel into UK waters; and what that evidence shows, if anything, about the outcome when such boats reach the English coast.

Answered on

16 June 2020

Border Force vessels covering the South East Channel are usually tasked to identify migrant events by the Coastguard, with the priority being search and rescue and the safety of life. Border Force work closely with the Coastguard and French authorities to ensure we provide an effective response to migrant events at sea. Migrants undertaking these dangerous journeys in unsuitable and overloaded small boats are putting the lives of themselves and others at considerable risk and the priority for all assets deployed at sea is safety.

At sea, under international law, the preservation of life is paramount. In some cases, French boats will remain with migrants if they refuse rescue. But we are clear no-one should be crossing at all and we are developing plans to reform policies and laws to help to stop these crossings completely.

Answered by

Home Office