Kent

Three boats with 36 migrants found off Kent coast

Border Force returning to Folkestone Image copyright Susan Pilcher
Image caption Border Force vessels were involved in the operations to bring migrants ashore on two of the three boats

Three small boats with 36 migrants on board have been intercepted off the Kent coast, the Home Office said.

A vessel with 11 men on board was spotted in the English Channel in the early hours and brought to Dover by a Border Force cutter.

A second boat with 15 people, including children, was escorted by the RNLI into Dungeness a few hours later.

Shortly afterwards a third boat with nine men and one woman was intercepted by Border Force and brought to Dover.

A Home Office spokesman said all 36 migrants had claimed to be Iraqi or Iranian but their nationalities had not yet been confirmed.

All have been medically examined and passed to immigration officials for interview.

At least 493 people, including more than 35 children, have crossed the Channel in small boats since 3 November 2018.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

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