First six months sees decrease in number of irregular migrants

In the first half of 2017, the number of irregular migrants showed a decrease of 8 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2016. ‘Irregular migrants’ are foreign nationals intending to cross into the United Kingdom illegally.

So far, 580 foreign nationals have attempted to make the crossing this year. While the majority of these (68 per cent) are Albanian nationals, migrants from Afghanistan, Vietnam and Iraq have also attempted the journey. In the first half of 2016, by comparison, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee apprehended 630 foreign nationals.

Trial involving helicopter and additional dogs

The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee hopes to further increase the chance of these individuals getting caught, and in doing so, further enhance the border-control effectiveness. The Marechaussee will therefore be starting a trial in which a helicopter is deployed for the detection of irregular migrants. The results of this trial will be evaluated in the near future. The Marechaussee will additionally be receiving ten additional migration control dogs over the next eighteen months. The first three dogs and their handlers will begin training in the last quarter of this year.

In terms of the percentage of irregular migrants discovered before they could board a boat to the United Kingdom, there has been an increase from 83 per cent in 2016 to 93 per cent in 2017. The remaining irregular migrants were intercepted by British authorities upon arrival on the other side of the Channel. This increase in the proportion of irregular migrants discovered while still in the Netherlands demonstrates that border control procedures have become more effective.

Information campaign in Albania

An information campaign was launched in Albania this week for the purpose of making it clear to Albanians that travelling to the European Union in search of asylum or illegal work would be pointless. Many of the country's citizens make the journey to Western Europe looking for better economic prospects; however, they do so as a result of misinformation from various sources, including human traffickers. The campaign is a joint initiative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) of the Ministry of Security and Justice.

Statistics on irregular migration are included in the Key Figures on Asylum and Migration published by Ministry of Security and Justice each month. The figures on irregular migration are published separately on a quarterly basis.