Only 215 out of the 45,755 migrants who crossed the Channel last year have been deported, shocking new figures reveal, as the government comes under pressure to deter dangerous crossings.
This equates to 0.47 percent of the total — less than five in every 1,000.
Natalie Elphicke, Tory MP for Dover, has demanded a new strategy with a focus on France taking responsibility for preventing small boats from leaving their shores and reclaiming them if they are picked up in the Channel.
She said: “The number of Channel migrants who are deported or returned is so low it’s not serving as a deterrent.”
“That’s why it is vital to stop the boats leaving France in the first place — and migrants picked up in the Channel should be immediately returned to France.”
“The Home Office needs to get a grip on their processing to deport without delay.”
It comes as people smuggling gangs are claiming to have the “safest boats” in a desperate bid to entice migrants to cross the English Channel.
A senior investigator at the National Crime Agency said the gangs are more “chaotic” and “sporadic” than drug or gun networks where criminals have specific roles.
Paul Morris said smugglers from “nationality-based groups” control different sections of migrant camps in Northern France.
The vile criminals are even “mocking up” false reassurances for migrants on the quality of the boats and engines.
The boats are often so flimsy they need reinforcing with wood to prevent the bottom from falling through.
Smugglers are cramming more and more people into boats.
Albanian people smugglers have reduced prices for small boat Channel crossings to £3,000 per migrant in an effort to counter the “deterrent” effect of the government’s barge and deportation plans.”
The NCA believes the surge in Albanians was a “seasonal” trend but could not rule out something similar happening this year.
Albanian gangs effectively acted as middlemen between thousands of migrants and Kurdish people smugglers. They would then take a cut themselves.
Mr Morris said Kurdish gangs still predominantly control the routes across the Channel from France to the UK.
He told the Daily Express: “It is becoming a busier space within these [camps and border crossing points] with facilitators who are fighting for the customers and the indications are groups will claim they have the safest boats or they have the best engines”
“Facilitators are mocking up engines and boats and false reassurance to their customers as part of their plan.”
Mr Morris said younger criminals are effectively exploiting the migrant crisis to charge thousands for every person to cross the English Channel.
He added: “We’ve been used to structured organizations with specific roles.
“They are actually quite chaotic.”
“They are quite young themselves. But there are opportunities here when they can make money. This method has been industrialised.”
“The demand and the customer base for that is high and because it has been industrialised, that’s put the risks up. But actually, it is putting the profits up for these more, sort of chaotic, sporadic groups.”
“There are these key points in France where migrants will commute. There will be facilitators from nationality-based groups that will own part of the camps or potentially own launch points on the beach. There is a basic structure around those groups, but it is competitive.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The significant increase in dangerous and illegal journeys into this country puts great pressure on the asylum system, slowing down the processing of individual cases who could face deportation or removal.”
“The Illegal Migration Bill will stop the boats and ensure those arriving illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”