A group of 12 migrants including a 10-year-old child have been detained after landing on a Kent beach, the Home Office said.
Nine men, two women and the child are believed to have arrived at Greatstone in a black dinghy on Monday morning.
Witnesses described seeing a large police presence along the quiet stretch of coastline.
Chris Matcham said: “I was driving towards New Romney this morning with my sister when a police car came haring past us along the road.
“We then saw the police car and van on the sea side of the road a bit further down.
“We saw what we suspected were immigrants standing by the van on the pavement. I think we saw four or five but couldn’t see for sure as we were driving past.
“Then I went for a walk 30 minutes later and lots of police helicopters were flying overhead. The dinghy was empty and the migrants were gone.
“The police van was gone, too.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “Border Force was contacted by Kent Police at around 8.25am today, Monday 31 December.
“Border Force officers were deployed to assist with a group of 12 migrants at Greatstone, Kent.
“The group consisted of nine men, two women and a 10-year-old child. They have presented themselves as Iranian nationals.
“They all received a medical assessment and have now been transferred to immigration officials for interview.”
The latest incident comes after Home Secretary Sajid Javid cut short a family holiday in South Africa to return to the UK to deal with the migrant issue, which he declared a major incident.