Know the dangers

Migrants are often told by smugglers that the journey to the UK will be safe and easy, but in fact smuggling puts migrants at serious risk of injury, abuse and exploitation. In fact, last year at least 6 people have died, including children, trying to cross the channel by small boat.

Migrants are often forced into situations that mean they risk serious injuries or even death. Smugglers often use the cheapest boats they can find, overloading them and not providing enough life jackets which puts migrants’ lives at serious risk during every crossing.

The information on this page has been provided by the Home Office, on behalf of the UK Government. For more information on immigration to the UK visit Visas and Immigration

Attempting to get to the UK by small boats is highly dangerous, it is the busiest shipping Channel in the world, with more than 500 vessels passing through it every day, from oil tankers to ferries. It is incredibly dangerous, and you are putting your life at risk.

  • If you fall into the sea, you risk drowning, you won’t last longer than 30 minutes in the cold water

  • If sea conditions change quickly, your boat will overturn/capsize quickly

  • You will quickly die from hypothermia

Attempting to climb aboard a lorry or into a container to travel to the UK is extremely dangerous and many people have died:

  • You could be run over and killed trying to climb aboard a moving vehicle.

  • You are at risk of freezing if you’re hanging underneath or, inside the vehicle if it’s refrigerated.

  • You could be crushed by falling items within the vehicle

  • You could suffocate as air is restricted in sealed containers and trailers

  • You could fall – from inside or into the road if you are underneath/hanging on to a vehicle

French police are patrolling beaches, confiscating boats, equipment and stopping boats from leaving every day throughout the year.

Trained dogs and border officers search lorries looking for hidden people using effective equipment such as scanners and monitors to detect people breathing

Lorries are searched and checked twice by both French and UK border officers at French checkpoints

Hundreds of migrants are found at checkpoints and returned

Due to the strong border controls, few people make it to the UK

If you make it to the UK, you will be returned if you have no right to remain.

You won’t be able to work or claim benefits

Don’t risk your life or be beholden to people smugglers – find out about safe and legal alternative options to irregular migration.