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Migrant Channel crossings what you need to know 

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CHANNEL CROSSINGS: what you need to know

Why do people travel from countries like France to the UK?

There are many reasons why people travel onwards from France.

Some will be rejoining family in the UK, or communities or (in the case of Afghan veterans, for example) former colleagues. Some may speak English, others will have cultural or historic ties to the UK. And others will have faced trafficking and exploitation in France.

Why are more people making the crossing right now?

No one would make this journey if they had another choice. But there is no way to claim asylum in the UK until you set foot here.

Weather conditions, police brutality in and around Calais, and changes to traffic because of covid all impact the numbers of crossings.

The number of people travelling to the UK is still small - France, Germany, Greece and Italy all receive more asylum claims.

Is it illegal to travel to the UK this way?

No. Using irregular means to enter the UK does not impinge on your right to apply for asylum here. This right is enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention.

But Priti Patel is proposing plans that would criminalise people making irregular journeys. You could be deported or imprisoned for exercising your right to seek asylum.

What should the government do to end dangerous crossings?

To prevent dangerous crossings, we need safe routes of entry to the UK, including:

  • Scrap the Anti Refugee Bill that will drive people to ever-more dangerous journeys and criminalise refugees.
  • Humanitarian visas - these would grant people papers for safe passage to the UK
  • Open resettlement programmes - the promised Afghan resettlement programme is too small, and it still hasn't opened.
  • Expand family reunion rules - allowing refugees to join family in the UK

Difficult questions? How to tackle myths and answer hostile questions about Channel crossings

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