Four children in group of 11 migrants rescued off Dover

General view of French coast from Dover, Kent Image copyright Barcroft Media/Getty
Image caption The Dover Strait is the world's busiest shipping route

Four children are among 11 people who have been rescued from a boat off the Kent coast near Dover.

The boat was reported to the Border Force at about 04:00 GMT, a Home Office spokesman said.

"The group consisted of six men, one woman and four children. Eight have presented themselves as Iraqi nationals with the remaining three claiming to be Iranian nationals," he said.

After medical examinations they were transferred to immigration officers.

On Tuesday, 14 migrants were rescued from two dinghies in the English Channel and brought ashore at Dover.

Image caption Six people rescued from a boat on Tuesday said they were Iranian

The BBC has confirmed that at least 135 migrants have entered British waters since 3 November, with the majority presenting themselves as Iranian.

Miodrag Ćakić, chief executive of Refugee Aid Serbia, which monitors migration through the Balkans, told the BBC Iranians heading for the UK had entered the EU via Serbia.

A BBC South East investigation found people smugglers were telling migrants they should enter the UK before "the borders shut properly" after Brexit.

Why are Iranians crossing the Channel in dinghies?

Warnings have gone out from the UK authorities about the dangers of taking small boats on the Dover-Calais route.

On Thursday, 10 men were rescued from a boat off the French coast - eight of them suffering from "severe hypothermia", according to French officials.

Ben Bano, from the migrant support group Seeking Sanctuary, said: "It's amazing anyone would want to make the crossing in these cold conditions, but people are absolutely desperate - the conditions in Calais are even worse."

The people found off the Kent coast since November:

  • 15 December -Four children are among a group of 11 people rescued off Dover. Eight said they were Iraqi and the other three claimed to be Iranian.
  • 11 December -Six people, thought to be from Iran were rescued from a small boat off the Kent coast. A second boat with eight men, all saying they were Iranian were picked up later the same day off Dover.
  • 4 December -Two suspected migrants who said they were Iranian were picked up in an inflatable boat near St Margaret's Bay.
  • 27 November -An 18-month-old baby was among nine people rescued from a dinghy off Dover.
  • 26 November - Nine people including a child, reported to be 18-months-old are picked up from a 3m-long boat off Dover.
  • 25 November - Eight people, all suffering from hypothermia, are rescued by the French authorities from a small boat in the Channel
  • 24 November -Five suspected migrants are picked up from a small boat by the French authorities off northern France
  • 23 November - Eight men located in a dinghy off the coast of Dover
  • 22 November -Thirteen men and one woman were intercepted in two dinghies off the coast of Dover
  • 18 November - Nine suspected migrants were found clambering up rocks in Folkestone after apparently crossing the English Channel in a small boat
  • 16 November - Seven suspected migrants were found off Samphire Hoe, near Dover
  • 14 November - Nine suspected migrants - seven men, one woman and a toddler - were found off the Kent coast. Another 10 were found near Dover Docks and five men were found several miles of Ramsgate
  • 13 November - Fourteen men and three children entered Port of Dover on a French fishing boat believed to be stolen
  • 9 November - Seven men were found in the English Channel off Dover
  • 3 November - Eight suspected migrants were stopped off the Kent coast and seven others were stopped at Dover Western Docks

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