Calais migrants think Brexit will make it easier to claim asylum, poll finds

A majority of migrants polled in Calais believe that Brexit will make it easier to claim asylum in Britain.

55% of those surveyed think they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the UK since the end of the transition period last year, with just 18% thinking Brexit will make it more difficult.

Humanitarian charity Care4Calais who conducted the poll suggested that longer freight queues at the French border will give migrants more opportunities to smuggle themselves into Britain.

This hypothesis is not consistent however with a recent Europol report which explained that “more systematic customs controls” introduced in February last year have acted as a deterrent from attempted crossings in freight loads, with Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union prompting “the increasing use of small boats” across the Channel.

An eye-watering 8,417 migrants landed on British shores last year, the highest total on record for a single year. More than 15,000 attempts to cross the Channel were made.

Care4Calais founder, Clare Moseley, has called on the UK government to allow migrants to claim asylum at the border with France, rather than attempting the perilous journey across the Channel.

“In the Channel our governments treat them like a military enemy when they are simply asking for our help. It’s horrific. They are ordinary people who are fleeing conflict and oppression. We can do better than this.”

Immigration minister Chris Philp hit back, accusing Care4Calais of “recklessly repeating false information, which risks encouraging desperate migrants to make a dangerous journey instead of claiming asylum in the first safe country they reach, such as France.

“Now we have left the EU we have changed the law meaning those who have travelled through safe countries will have their asylum cases treated as inadmissible.

“We are also fixing our asylum system to make it firm and fair and will be bringing forward legislation to stop abuse of the system while ensuring it is compassionate towards those who need our help.”