Amid a rising number of small boats crossing the Channel, culminating in Wednesday's tragedy, campaigners and experts have proposed a number of possible solutions to curb the dangerous journeys:
The government is accused of misunderstanding the reasons behind the current crisis. The refugee council has disputed the claim that 70% of people crossing small boats are economic migrants, which is a claim disputed by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Undocumented economic migrants usually don't usually give themselves into the hands of Home Office officials as soon as they reach UK soil.
A recent high court case about support for asylum seekers in hotels revealed that Patel and his immigration minister Chris Philp rejected recommendations from officials to make 12.11 a week for asylum seekers in hotels because they did not want to increase the pull factors. Asylum seekers insist they are not travelling to the UK to receive these modest payments.
Critics say it is hard to identify solutions if the nature of the problem is misunderstood.
Work with other peaceful nations to try to resolve or mitigate global conflicts.
The gold-standard solution to halting refugees crossing the Channel in small boats is to end global conflicts that cause people to flee for their lives. The Department for International Development DfID did a great deal of work before it was axed as a standalone department and merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2020. DfID worked to strengthen the infrastructures of fragile countries in the hope of increasing stability there. The EU has a lot of collective clout when it comes to global diplomacy, but Britain is no longer a member.
Refugee resettlement is a safe way to airlift people out of conflict zones or neighbouring countries and allow them to start a new life without having to deal with the many roadblocks in the current asylum system. Refugee resettlement is only offered to a very small number of people fleeing conflict. In the 12 months to September 2021, the number of refugees resettled under the government's UK resettlement scheme was 1,171, down around 45% year on year. Operation Pitting lifted 15,000 people out of Afghanistan this year, and the UK government resettled around 5,000 Syrians a year after the Syrian conflict. Refugee charities are calling for these schemes to be expanded.
In France, UK officials already have a border. Assassins in northern France hoping to reach the UK should be able to register their claim with UK officials and then be sent on ferries to be brought to the UK while their claim is processed. If such a scheme was adopted, it would achieve what the government has promised to do: smash the business model of the people smugglers.
The number of people waiting six months or more for an initial decision on their claim has increased by 5% to 56,520, with delays in processing asylum claims at record levels. The Home Office had a target of processing the majority of straightforward claims within a few months. They dropped the target in 2019 because officials wanted to prioritize the most vulnerable asylum seekers. According to the Home Office figures released on Thursday, the majority of asylum claims are legitimate. Nearly two-thirds of 64% of asylum claims ended up with a grant of protection. 48% of those who were rejected went on to appeal. The scale of the delays leads to the perception of the system being overwhelmed, experts say it doesn't have to be.