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UK Asylum Claims Surge to 20 Year High Amid Channel Migrant Crisis

  Asylum claims in the United Kingdom have surged to their highest level in nearly 20 years amid the ongoing migrant crisis in the English C...

 Asylum claims in the United Kingdom have surged to their highest level in nearly 20 years amid the ongoing migrant crisis in the English Channel, government data has revealed.

Statistics released by the Home Office on Thursday, have shown that the number of asylum claims being made in the UK has risen to the highest quarterly level since January to March of 2003, with 15,104 people claiming asylum between July and September.

The total number of asylum applications made within the twelve-month period to September was 37,562. This also is the highest number of claims made within a twelve-month period since 2004.

Two-thirds of new applicants within that period were migrants who crossed the Channel in small boats from France, The Times reported.

Over 25,000 migrants have illegally crossed the Channel this year, around three times last year’s number, with one attempted voyage resulting in the deaths of at least 27 people on Wednesday, including one pregnant woman.

While the main driver of the increase in asylum seekers has been the ongoing crisis taking place in the English Channel, the Chinese coronavirus also had an effect, the government claimed.

“The increase in applications is likely linked in part to the easing of global travel restrictions that were in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to an increase in small boat arrivals to the UK, of which almost all claim asylum,” the Home Office stated, emphasizing that applications fell “substantially” during the initial coronavirus outbreak.

The Home Office also stated that the pandemic had a “significant impact on the UK immigration system,” restricting its “operational capacity” in dealing with migration.

The rapid upswing in the number of migrants coming to British shores has put significant strain on the country’s infrastructure, with newly arrived migrants being transported up to 500 miles away to Scotland to have their asylum claims to be processed.

Meanwhile, the recent migrant deaths in the Channel have inflamed tensions between the UK and France.

Both sides have accused the other of not doing enough to ease the crisis, with an open letter from Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for greater cooperation causing outrage amongst French officials.

“We don’t communicate from one leader to another on these subjects like this via tweets or by making letters public,” stated French President Emmanual Macron, who went on to say that he was willing to work with the British “when they decide to be serious about it”.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage has slammed the British government’s inaction during the crisis, saying that both the Home Office and Home Secretary Priti Patel are “not fit for purpose”. 

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