Priti Patel has been accused of hiding bad news amid government plans to end publication of Channel migration figures daily.    

The Home Office is currently releasing the data once arrivals have been processed and confirmed by the UK Border Force. This usually happens the day after. But, the Home Office could cease to issue the data if the Ministry of Defence takes over operations to capture migrants.

According to the UK Statistics Authority, they raised concerns over the way that migrant numbers were released. However, not publishing them would open ministers up to being accused of hiding crucial information.  

According to a Home Office source, the agency is currently evaluating advice from the authority in order “to present clearly the overall trends and the total number of small boats that have arrived”  

The department is now set to release the figures every three months, but the move has drawn criticism from Tory MPs – with one saying it ‘seems more like burying bad news than being transparent about crossings’, The Telegraph reports. 

Unidentified Conservative added: “It looks like covering up. No doubt journalists will create their own figures, based upon people arriving at Tughaven.” [the migrant processing centre in Dover]Freedom of Information request. 

Priti Patel is accused of hiding bad news. The government plans to stop the publication of daily Channel migrants figures 

Official statistics show that more migrants have entered Britain in this month’s than any other time since January. UK authorities have intercepted more than 950 migrants so far this year – more than three times the 223 in January 2021. The Channel intercepted 28381 individuals last year, while only 8,410 were in 2020.

Border Force officials bring migrants ashore at Dover Harbour after arriving in Speedwell, January 19

Officials from the Border Force bring migrants onto Dover Harbour, after they arrive in Speedwell (January 19).

What happens if someone crosses the Channel and arrives in the UK?

Rory Tingle

According to Refugee Council statistics, most people who travel across the Channel on small boats are seeking asylum. The process of what happens at this stage varies depending upon whether the person is an adult, minor unaccompanied or family member. 


1 – Transferred immediately to a temporary holding facility scattered around the country. Usually, this is in south England. After being fingerprinted, they are interviewed for a screening interview in which they give their nationality and date of birth. They are then registered into the asylum system. 

2 – The asylum seekers were usually sent to the hostel by the Home Office one or two days later. But, in recent years these are full and officials have started using hotels.   

They will be dispersed within two to three weeks to any UK city, or to “housing in community” – though these time frames have become longer in recent years. Additionally, as dispersal accommodation can often be full, the Home Office has used rented accommodation provided by three private companies.  The asylum seekers receive housing and £39.63 a week as a cash allowance. 

4. Asylum seekers receive a questionnaire called the preliminary information questionnaire (PIC). This form asks them why they fear persecution. The Home Office invites them to substantive interview. They will then be asked questions using information from the screening interview and their PIC forms.

4. Applicants can appeal against a decision refusing to grant their request. The support and accommodation would continue. 

5 – They are considered to have exhausted their rights if they receive an initial refusal, don’t appeal, or the appeal is denied. The Home Office will write to them, advising that their weekly support would be ended and they will be removed from their home. 

Six – The Voluntary Return Scheme allows them to sign up, which will allow the Home Office to pay for their flight. They could be detained and even removed by immigration officers if they do not sign up. However, there is not enough space for them so people are often homeless and left without a home.


The children under 18 are transferred for shorter periods to temporary housing facilities. They then transfer into the custody of local authorities. The social worker assigns them accommodation.

Minors who have been living apart from their parents are not eligible for removal by the Home Office. If their asylum claims are unsuccessful, they may be granted leave to stay until the age of 17 and a quarter. 


There is one slight exception: if the Family becomes an ‘appeal right exhausted’ case, then the Home Office won’t remove them from accommodation or end their financial support. 

And Tory MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke, said: ‘This is not a statistical exercise – this is a serious crisis where people are exploited by criminal gangs on a daily basis and lives are tragically lost. It is vital to have daily figures in order to monitor the progress made towards tackling this crisis.

The announcement that the Army would build camps to accommodate up to 30,000. Channel migrants was made public last month.

For soldiers who wish to build temporary accommodation on Ministry of Defence land in the UK, plans are being made.

It is expected that the project will cost in excess of tens to millions of pounds. Priti Patel (Home Secretary) has told Tory MPs privately that the work for the first phase of the project is scheduled to commence within weeks.

Sources close to government claim that the program will cost less than current accommodations for migrants. Thousands have been placed in hotels with full-board at three and four star resorts. 

Ministers believe that the transition to temporary housing-style accommodation on military bases will act deterrentively against migrants who plan to cross the Channel. 

A Whitehall insider stated that accommodation would be built at several bases across the country as part of the new network. 

We believe that it will deter criminals. After the project is completed, people will live in prefabricated temporary buildings rather than in hotels in the middle of town.

Although exact locations are not known, a secure new site was opened at Manston MoD Site in Kent for the initial processing of Channel migrants.

Although it was initially established to shelter illegal immigrants in the UK for up to five working days, its current role is to offer longer-term housing.

The Government also hired planning consultants for applications to the Napier barracks at Folkestone.

Since September 2020, it has been home to up to 350 refugees. Ministers intend to maintain the facility until at most 2025. Sources confirm that Napier’s capacity is going to be increased under this new project.

Napier’s criticism of billing migrants to MoD sites has made it controversial.

Last month, an all-party parliamentary panel described the base in a report. It compared it with ‘quasidetention’ and said that there were ‘appalling conditions’.

According to a Government source, the MoD would be responsible for housing migrants arriving in their country. It is possible that this will require the construction of additional barracks and other similar spaces to Napier.

“We are trying to lower the number of asylum seekers staying in hotels. This is currently more than we want.”

The Home Office plans to allow up to 65,000 Channel arrivals in the worst-case scenario.

The number of migrants who arrived in Britain this year was nearly 28,400, compared to 8,410 for 2020. More than 940 have been intercepted by UK authorities so far this month – more than four times the figure in January last year.

It does not include arrivals yesterday – which are thought to number around 25.