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Channel crossings reach single highest daily total

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made tackling small boat crossings a priority for his Government this year.

More than 600 people crossed the English Channel in small boats in the highest number on a single day so far this year, new figures show.

Some 616 people were detected on Sunday, according to Home Office figures released on Monday, passing this year’s previous high of 497 on Saturday April 22.

It means the number of crossings in 2023 now stands at a provisional total of 8,380, down from around 10,000 at the same point last year.

In total, the number who made the crossing last year reached a record 45,755, prompting Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to make tackling small boat crossings a priority for his Government this year.

Twelve boats were detected crossing the Channel on Sunday, which suggests an average of around 51 people per boat.

It comes on the day a report by a cross-party group of MPs suggested Albanian migrants to the UK are unlikely to be at risk in their own country or require asylum.

However, more needs to be done to support the Albanian victims of people-smuggling, especially women, the Home Affairs Select Committee said.

In a report published on Monday and focusing on Albania, the committee said there is no clear basis for the UK to accept thousands of asylum applications from Albanian citizens.

Migration data previously revealed that more than a quarter of the 45,755 people who crossed the English Channel in small boats in 2022 were Albanian, most of whom made an asylum claim.

The number of Albanians making the channel crossing in small boats rose from 800 in 2021 to 12,301 last year.

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