Why do migrants leave France and try to cross the English Channel?

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Why do migrants leave France and try to cross the English Channel?

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Why do migrants leave France and try to cross the English Channel?


Efforts are under way to identify 27 people who drowned crossing the English Channel.

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Their deaths have raised questions about why so many people are attempting the journey despite the dangerous conditions.

Why do migrants cross the Channel in boats?
For years, people smugglers have sent people to the UK in lorries. There have also been tragedies on these routes, including the 39 Vietnamese people found dead in a refrigerated lorry in 2019.

But security at the Port of Calais in France - where UK border controls are - has been tightened.

This means more attempts are being made to send people by boat, according to Tony Smith, former director general of UK Border Force.

He says Covid had also had a role, as fewer lorries have been travelling to the UK: "Human smugglers have changed their tactics and they've now taken to this relatively new phenomenon of putting people into small boats and bringing them across in that way."

Why do migrants leave France for the UK?
In the few studies that exist, family ties have been identified as the main reason migrants wish to travel from France to the UK.

In a survey of 402 people at the former Calais "Jungle" camp, researchers from the International Health journal found only 12% wanted to remain in France, while 82% planned to go to England.

Of those that wanted to travel to England more than half (52%), said they already had a family member there.

"They have a connection to the UK, they speak some English, they have family, they have friends and people in their networks. They want to come and stay and rebuild their lives," says Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council.

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