A RECORD 45,756 people crossed the Channel to the UK in 2022, Government figures show.

The last crossings of the year took place on Christmas Day, when 90 people made the journey from France in two boats.

The Ministry of Defence recorded no further crossings for the remaining six days of 2022 amid bad weather conditions.

Home Office officials previously estimated up to 60,000 people could make the journey during the year.

The provisional total for 2022 is 60% higher than the figure for 2021.

The number has increased dramatically each year since 299 people were detected making the journey in 2018, but data has suggested the UK Government is still failing to process most asylum applications. 

READ MORE: Scotland celebrates New Year as Edinburgh's street party returns

Figures published in November showed the vast majority of asylum applications from people arriving in the UK on small boats between October 2021 and August last year had still not been processed.

Of the 35,345 people arriving via the Channel between October 1, 2021, and August 31, 2022, 90% applied for asylum in the UK, the Home Office said.

A total of 29,049 applications were made by these arrivals – with some including more than one person – and, of this figure, just 139 had received an initial decision by the time the latest data was published in November.

Some 381 applications had been withdrawn but 28,529 were still awaiting a decision.

Of the 139 who received a decision, 46 were granted refugee status or another type of leave to remain, 57 were refused, and 36 were not considered on “third country grounds” – meaning the UK Government instead sought the person’s removal to a safe third country because the applicant had a connection to that country where they could “reasonably have been expected to claim asylum” before reaching the UK.

Suella Braverman told of her “dream” last year of seeing the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda succeed after she was appointed Home Secretary – a policy which High Court judges ruled is lawful but has so far been stalled by legal action.

She also admitted there were no safe and legal routes for many people to apply for asylum in the UK during a car-crash grilling by a panel of MPs in November.

READ MORE: Climber dies and one injured following Ben Nevis avalanche

Since the deal was signed in April by her predecessor Priti Patel, 40,460 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to bring in legislation in 2023 to make it “unambiguously clear that if you enter the UK illegally, you should not be able to remain here”.

Among a series of measures to curb Channel crossings and tackle the backlog of asylum claims, Sunak vowed to stop housing asylum seekers in hotels, with the Government instead hunting for accommodation in empty holiday parks, former student halls and surplus military sites.

Braverman confirmed plans to house migrants on disused cruise ships are also being considered as she revealed £3.5 billion would be spent on the asylum system in 2022/23. Some £2.3 billion of the total bill will go towards paying for hotels, she told MPs.

Earlier this week, former prime minister Theresa May warned efforts to reform modern slavery laws risk creating other loopholes that could be exploited after Braverman claimed they are being “abused by people gaming the system” to stay in the UK when they would otherwise face deportation.

Meanwhile, ministers are also looking to curb the numbers of people coming into the country legally with plans which could reportedly target foreign students, make it harder to bring spouses to the UK, and increase the minimum salaries for companies employing skilled workers.