Stop the Boats? UK Sees Sharp Rise in Immigration From Turkey

Reports indicate that the number of Turkish migrants entering the UK via small boats has increased dramatically, making Turkey the third-largest nation arriving on UK shores. Still, the home office insists it is working closely with the country to stop the boats.

Surge in Turkish Migrant Arrivals via Channel Raises Concerns

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Amidst a decline in overall small boat crossings, an analysis of official figures reveals a tripling in the number of Turkish migrants arriving in Britain via the Channel over the past year.

Overall Reduction

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This surge positions Turkey as the third-largest nation for such arrivals, trailing only Afghanistan and Iran. While the overall crossings saw a 36% reduction, from 45,774 in 2022 to 29,437 in the past year, the increase in Turkish migrants raises questions about the root causes and potential solutions.

Turkish Arrivals Defy Overall Decline

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In 2022, 1,127 people from Turkey arrived in the UK via small boats, a number that escalated to 3,060 in the following year.

Bucking the Trend

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This shift makes Turkish migrants one of the few nationalities to buck the trend of diminishing overall crossings. The rise in Turkish arrivals has prompted concerns and calls for robust measures to address the underlying issues.

New Agreements

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In August, the UK negotiated a new agreement with Turkey aimed at dismantling the supply of dinghies used by people-smuggling gangs.

Bodged Together

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Despite these efforts, the National Crime Agency (NCA) asserted that many small boats departing for the UK are manufactured in clandestine Turkish workshops, equipped with motors from China, and stored in Germany before being dispatched to the French coastline on demand. 

Incentives and Challenges in Returns Cooperation

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A Whitehall source explained, “The problem arises when a few people from a nationality come via small boat and it’s proven it is possible to stay in the UK. Then they follow in much greater numbers. We have a very low asylum grant rate for Turkish arrivals, so the issue is return cooperation. We have tried very hard to improve returns cooperation, but progress is incremental. The numbers crossing are so large we need a revolution in returns cooperation to remove the incentive for Turks to cross. Until then, they will continue to cross.”

Economic Migration and Crime

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The source asserted, “There is practically no one of Turkish nationality on a small boat that is fleeing for their lives. In the extremely unlikely event you are a dissident fleeing, you are going to fly. You are not going to take a small boat from France. Those on small boats are all economic migrants or intent on criminality.”

Statistics and Notable Changes in Crossings

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Afghanistan remains the leading nation in small boat arrivals with 5,579 individuals. Iran follows with 3,581 arrivals. Eritrea saw a 32 percent increase from last year, reaching 2,668 arrivals. Indian migrants witnessed a significant uptick of 60 percent, totaling 1,194 in the past year.

Fast Track Returns

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The decline in crossings by Albanians shows the effectiveness of diplomatic agreements and policy measures. A fast-track returns deal and stringent rules targeting modern slavery claims and illegal working led to a 93 percent reduction in Albanian crossings.

Government Response and Future Considerations

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The Home Office stressed its commitment to “stop the boats” by implementing measures to combat people smuggling and collaborating closely with French counterparts.

A Joint Effort

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“We have a very close partnership with Turkey when it comes to tackling the shared problem of illegal migration,” a spokesperson said, “Our strong collaboration includes UK and Turkish law enforcement officers participating in joint operations to tackle organized immigration crime.”

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The post Stop the Boats? UK Sees Sharp Rise in Immigration From Turkey first appeared on Edge Media.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Aidan Calderbank.

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