Immigration to the United Kingdom: Little Evidence for


Global Courant

Figures published a few days ago by the British Ministry of Internal Affairs Home Office show that out of a total of 160,000 applications for asylum, 15% of them or 24,747 belong to Albanians.

However, evidence that Albanians are in danger in their own country and need asylum in the United Kingdom is scant, says a committee of MPs.

Albanian citizens should not be routinely granted asylum, the Home Affairs selection committee said. A total of 51% of asylum requests from Albanians were initially accepted in the first 6 months of last year. Some were making asylum claims, particularly women, as they claimed they had been trafficked and needed protection, MPs said.

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The government said it was working with Albania to stop illegal migration, a message that follows a boom in Albanian migrants heading to Great Britain last year via small boat crossings.

In a report published on Monday, the cross-party committee stressed that Albanian migrants in the UK were unlikely to need asylum. The report cited figures showing that 51% of Albanian cases were initially accepted in the first half of 2022 – most of these claimants arrived by ferry or plane rather than small boats.

The committee said that nine countries, including Germany, had not accepted any asylum applications from Albania during that period. He called on the Home Office to explain why the UK’s acceptance rate was so high, particularly compared to other countries.

The report also pointed out that figures show that in 2022, more than 1/4 of the 45,755 people who crossed the Channel in small boats came from Albania “and most sought asylum”, it reports BBC.

He added that the number of Albanians arriving in Great Britain from this route had gone from 800 in 2021 and 12,301 in 2022.

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“Albania is a safe country”, said the deputies. “It is not at war and it is a candidate country to join the European Union. There is no clear basis for the United Kingdom to routinely accept thousands of asylum applications from Albanian citizens, the committee finds.”

The report suggested that the driving factors for people coming to the UK from Albania mainly included better job opportunities and higher wages. However, the MPs also emphasized that there were “indisputable cases of trafficking of Albanian citizens in the United Kingdom”.

According to them, more should be done to support Albanian victims of people smuggling – especially women. Labor MP Dame Diana Johnson, chair of the committee, said there had been “a significant sudden increase in asylum applications from an apparently peaceful country”.

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Johnson said that “while it is important to ask questions and learn lessons, it is clear that the immigration picture is not static and will continue to evolve.” MPs recommended that the government promote seasonal work visas in agriculture and construction to give more Albanians the chance to come to Great Britain without making unauthorized crossings across the Channel.

They also said that appropriate safeguards should be put in place before any trafficking victims are returned to Albania and recommended that the UK maintain strong links with the country’s government.

Labour’s Dame Diana said: “Changes to immigration will inevitably strain any system, but the Government must do much more to ensure it can better deal with these stresses.”

Diana also said it was important that “the UK improves its overall approach to asylum”.

Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said from Kent that his plan to tackle migration was progressing, but there was “work to do”. Sunak said an agreement with Albania on the return of migrants had led to the return of 1,800 people and this had a deterrent effect.

A Home Office spokesman said that “this government’s priority is to stop the ships”.

“Last year, 28% of those who arrived in the UK by small boat were from Albania – a safe European country and NATO ally – putting further strain on our asylum system,” he continued.

“We have worked closely with the Albanian government to disrupt criminal gangs and prevent illegal migration. In the five months to the end of May, Albanian small boat arrivals have decreased by 90% compared to last year and we have returned 1,800 illegal migrants and foreign criminals. Return to Albania Thanks to changes in our asylum system, we have gone from accepting 1 in 5 Albanian asylum requests to only 1 in 50, in line with other European countries.

We will carefully consider the report and respond in due course.”

Read also: England/Albanians awaiting asylum review, the figure is revealed

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