London: The UK Home Office said it has returned more than 320 foreign criminals and immigration offenders last month as part of efforts to stop the boats.
The people who were returned to their home countries included over 200 foreign national offenders, over 30 asylum offenders and over 85 non-asylum offenders, with more than 15 known to have arrived in the UK via small boats.
The foreign national offenders removed were convicted of crimes including rape and the supply of drugs. They had a total combined sentence of more than 145 years.
“We are absolutely delivering on our commitment to return people who come here illegally or remain here without the right to do so,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in a statement.
“Since the Prime Minister’s pledge in December, we have seen a marked increase in returns as part of the government’s work to keep the public safe and tackle illegal migration,” she said.
There were four charter return flights to Albania in February, with 220 other people returned to their home countries via scheduled flights.
In total, more than 690 people have been removed on eight charters and multiple scheduled flights since January 1.
This includes over 450 foreign national offenders who were convicted of serious crimes including rape, supply of drugs, kidnap and possession of firearms.
The Home Office has arrested 365 people since the Nationality and Borders Act became law in June.
A total of 245 people have been charged, and 155 have received convictions amounting to total combined sentences of over 105 years.
Of the total arrests, 87 have been for piloting small boats.
Announcing a new plan to stop the surge of illegal migrants coming into the country, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently said that those who enter the UK illegally will not be allowed to claim asylum.
Called the ‘illegal migration bill’, the draft law will crack down on those crossing the English Channel in small boats.
More than 45,000 migrants arrived in the UK on small boats last year.