Border Force officials’ union predicts an increase in the number of small boat arrivals in Britain in 2024.

The recent decrease in the number of migrant Channel crossings is attributed to unfavorable weather conditions, according to the Immigration Services Union.

Border Force officials’ union predicts that the influx of people arriving in Britain through small boats will rise again this year after a temporary decline caused by bad weather.

Recent government figures reveal a year-on-year decrease in Channel migrant arrivals, which is the first decline since records began. However, Lucy Moreton from the Immigration Services Union believes that the slowdown is likely a result of severe weather conditions in recent months.

The final crossing of the year took place on December 16th, with 55 individuals arriving from France in a single boat. No further crossings occurred throughout the remainder of the year due to heavy rain and strong winds, resulting in the longest consecutive period without any arrivals.

Rishi Sunak has committed to “stop the boats” and claims that his controversial Rwanda scheme would help achieve this goal. Previously, the prime minister took pride in his policies when the numbers were low, but it is important to note that the weather significantly affects the rate of dangerous Channel crossings.

During a Monday interview on Radio 4’s Today program, Moreton stated, “The planning assumption for 2024 is based on the fact that 2023 has been unusually low. We had other factors influencing the numbers, such as particularly high winds and a larger number of unfavorable weather days for migrant boat arrivals. However, we have also seen larger and more seaworthy boats, so the planning assumption is that this decrease is a temporary glitch.”

Government figures indicate that the total number of arrivals in 2023 decreased by over a third compared to 2022. Moreton emphasized the need for adequate resources for Border Force and the country as a whole to handle higher numbers, adding that although the peak of 2022 might not be reached, the following year will likely have more crossings compared to the previous year.

In 2023, the provisional annual total of crossings reached almost 30,000, which is more than a third lower than the record-breaking 45,774 crossings in 2022.

Interestingly, the decline in crossings coincides with a worsening humanitarian situation in northern France. Numerous asylum seekers are left homeless in unsanitary conditions while waiting for favorable weather to attempt the crossing.

Organizations working with asylum seekers in northern France warned of a “catastrophic situation” in November as the French authorities failed to provide sufficient basic shelter for lone children, pregnant women, and families.

Axel Gaudinat from the migrant support charity Utopia 56 expressed concerns about the lives of asylum seekers in Calais and Dunkirk, stating, “We are fortunate that no one has died yet during storms and poor weather conditions, despite the particularly harsh living conditions.”

Last month, when facing questions from MPs, Sunak stated that there is no specific date set to fulfill his promise of “stopping the boats.”

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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