Britain, France sign new illegal migration deal

STORY: Britain and France are cracking down on illegal migrants crossing the English Channel - the narrow but perilous stretch of water between the two countries.

So far this year over 40,000 people have completed the journey in small boats - 11,000 more than in the whole of 2021.

And the British government says more than 30,000 illegal crossing attempts from France have been prevented since the start of the year.

Last month British interior minister Suella Braverman described the increased arrivals as an "invasion", amid criticism of conditions at an overcrowded migrant processing center.

She signed a new multi-year cooperation deal with her French counterpart on Monday (14 November).

Braverman said it includes a 40% increase in the number of UK-funded gendarmerie officers patrolling French beaches in the coming months.

"There's no single answer, there's no quick fix, there's no silver bullet. Our cooperation and collaboration with the French on the channel, on the UK coastline, on the French coastline, is absolutely integral to ensuring that there is a robust barrier preventing people disembarking from the French beaches in the first place."

For the first time, British officers will be embedded in France - a move previously resisted by the French over sovereignty concerns.

"That means there will be British officers working on French soil, observing the work or working on the ground with French officers to detect and intercept the illegal migrants as they attempt to leave France. We'll be working hand in hand in the control rooms, managing intelligence and working to... with law enforcement."

Also included is investment in surveillance technology, like drones and helicopters, and detection dog teams.

As well as support for reception and removal centers in France.

British ministers say Albanians are behind the surge in arrivals - and often abuse modern slavery laws by claiming to be a victim of trafficking to avoid deportation.

Albanians made up 42% of people traveling on small boats between May and September this year.

British government figures showed just over 11,000 Albanians arrived in those five months, compared with 815 in 2020.