In the first eight months of this year, nearly 188,200 irregular entries were detected at the external borders of the European Union, according to preliminary calculations by Frontex, the European border and coast guard agency. This represents an increase of 75% compared with the same period of last year and is the highest total for the January-August period since 2016.
In August, EU Member States recorded about 32,800 irregular crossings, 35% more than in the same month in 2021.
The Western Balkan route continues to be the most active migratory route into the EU with 15,900 detections in August, 141% more than last year. The high number of illegal border crossings can be attributed to repeated crossing attempts by migrants already present in the Western Balkans.
The pressure also remains high on the Central Mediterranean route with daily arrivals putting strain on the reception capacities in Italy. Frontex supports the Italian authorities with officers for registration and identification of arrivals.
People fleeing Ukraine and entering the EU through border crossing points are not part of the figures of illegal entries detected. According to the latest Frontex data, 8.8 million Ukrainian nationals have entered the EU from Ukraine since the start of the war. At the same time, a significant number of Ukrainian nationals have returned to their country.
Responding to the high migratory pressure, Frontex has more than 2,300 standing corps officers and staff at various sections of the EU external border, as well as in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and Moldova.
The number of irregular migrants seeking to cross the Channel towards the U.K. in small boats remained high with roughly 41,067 detections so far in 2022, including both attempts and crossings. This represents an 80% increase on the same period in 2021. August, with over 13,500 detections, represents the highest number of monthly detections ever reported in the Channel since the migratory flows started in 2019.