More than 1,100 migrants have crossed the Channel in the past week, a record for the year so far.

In total, 26 small boats made the journey from northern France to England between 4 April and 10 April, according to the latest Home Office statistics. Some 1,106 people crossed the perilous waters.

Last Wednesday also saw the highest number of migrants travelling across in a single day in 2023, with 492 refugees in 11 vessels.

It comes as the Italian coastguard rescued 1,200 people aboard two boats in the Mediterranean Sea over the Easter weekend.

On Tuesday, Italy declared a six-month national state of emergency to help it cope with a surge in migrants arriving on the country’s southern shores.

The number of migrants arriving in the UK over the past week is more than double the capacity of a barge the government has recently leased to house refugees.

The barge, which will be docked just off Portland in Dorset, is being hired by the Home Office from Bibby Marine and will be used from this summer.

It comes as the government is believed to be looking at further sites to accommodate migrants across the UK.

The Home Office has already announced three, including two ex-military bases and a former prison, that will be used as housing: RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire, an MoD site in Essex, and HMP Northeye, in Bexhill, East Sussex.

The latest figures on crossings point to what charities are describing as "unrealistic" policies by the UK government aimed at trying to deter illegal journeys.

The Rwanda deportation plan to relocate illegal migrants is still being held up pending a Court of Appeal decision this month.

Natalie Roberts, executive director for MSF in the UK, said these plans "won’t work as a deterrent policy".

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She said: "The idea that these deterrent policies put people off, we’ve seen through long histories, our organisation has worked with refugees and migrants since we started and there are other organisations who work with refugees and migrants, and it doesn’t play into their thinking about national policies in the country that they’re aiming to get to.

"That really doesn’t play a huge factor in their choice to flee for a start, or their choice of where they are going to, so we don’t anticipate that realistically it will make any difference whatsoever.

"Putting a few hundred people on a barge is not going to make a huge difference to the numbers of people who want to claim asylum in the UK.

"An awful lot of effort and money is being put into some of these schemes which are not going to make a difference."

This weekend also saw hundreds of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by the Italian coastguard.

Two large-scale operations to rescue 800 people in a fishing boat were launched, with another 400 refugees on another vessel.

Migrant crossings to Italy from North and East Africa have risen sharply compared with the same period last year.

That is despite attempts by the Italian right-wing coalition government to clamp down on migration.

It is predicted that both Mediterranean and Channel crossings will rise in the months ahead, above the numbers seen in 2022.

© Sky News 2023