Small boat crossings: How Vietnam compares with other countries

Vietnamese nationals made up 5% of small boat arrivals in the UK in 2023, up from 1% in 2022 but the same proportion as in 2021, Home Office figures show.

Of the 28,381 arrivals last year where nationality was known, 1,323 were from Vietnam.

This is some way behind the most common country of origin, Afghanistan, which accounted for 5,545 of arrivals in 2023, or 20% of the total.

(PA Graphics)

Vietnamese ranked as the eighth most common nationality last year, compared with 13th in 2022 and sixth in 2021.

The figures for 2023 represent a sharp contrast with 2022, when Albania accounted for the highest number (12,658) and greatest proportion (28%) of people making the journey across the English Channel.

In 2023 this dropped to just 924 people, or 3% of the total.

The fall coincided with action taken by the governments of both countries to discourage people from attempting the crossing.

This included placing UK border force staff at Tirana airport in Albania’s capital, the exchange of senior police officers and the creation of a joint migration task force.

Another notable change between 2022 and 2023 was the jump in Turkish nationals arriving on small boats, from 1,127 (2% of the total) to 3,040 (11%).

There has been a long-term shift in the most common nationalities.

Iran and Iraq were the top two countries in every year from 2018 to 2021.

Afghan nationals accounted for just 1% of arrivals in 2018, 4% in 2019, 6% in 2020 and 5% in 2021 – before jumping to 20% in both 2022 (ranking second behind Albania) and 2023 (first).

All figures are based on the total number of arrivals where nationality has been recorded by the Home Office.

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