There is increasing debate over migration in Britain as more asylum seekers arrive on the country’s southern coast in small boats.

A small number of migrants usually attempts the crossing from France each year. However, the government says that more than 400 people have tried to cross the 30-kilometer-wide English Channel in the last four months. The government has called it a major problem and has redeployed patrol ships to the Channel from a joint European Union activity in the Mediterranean Sea.

Most of the recent asylum seekers appear to have come from Iran. They are trying to cross in air-filled boats in the middle of winter. The trip is dangerous because the English Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping paths and because of strong tides and currents.

Critics say the number of asylum seekers is still low. They accuse the government of falsely claiming there is a crisis. The government denies this.

Most asylum seekers arrive on airplanes. Many others hide under or inside trucks heading to Britain.

Experts suggest increased security in French ports could be driving migrants to attempt the crossing by sea.

Noorulhadi Oryakheil is from Afghanistan. He fled the Taliban in his country. He came to Britain hidden inside a refrigerated truck three years ago when he was 16 years old.

Bridget Chapman is with the group. She discussed the seriousness of the problem.

“It’s a crisis in that people are being forced to put their lives at risk to make a claim for asylum, that’s completely unacceptable.”

The government denies such accusations. It says deploying naval ships will help prevent smugglers and migrants from making the dangerous crossing.

Still others say that naval ships will only lead more migrants to make the sea crossing in hopes they will be rescued.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


patrol (n.) - the act of guarding an area, describing something that is used to guard and keep an area safe


tide (n.) - the regular up or downward movement of the level of the sea


refrigerated (adj.) - a vehicle came very cold to keep food fresh and safe to eat


smuggler (n.) - to move people or goods from one country to another illegally or secretly



Exercise 2 


Answer these questions about the article.


  1. What is this debate about?
  2. How many people have tried to cross the English channel?
  3. Why is this trip dangerous?
  4. Where are the refugees coming from?



Exercise 3

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks with the correct word listed below.

patrol, tide, smuggler, refrigerated


  1. ____ is high tonight.
  2. He is a _______, he is a criminal.
  3. This truck is _______.
  4. Get ready, we are going on a _______ to find wild animals.




Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.


  1. Should England accept more migrants?
  2. Why are they going to deploy naval ships?
  3. How we should prevent more people becoming refugees?
  4. How serious is this problem for Europe?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.