Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK and Albania pledge rapid removal of those entering the UK illegally

The press release issued by the Home Office on 25 August 2022.

Removal of Albanians with no right to be in the UK will be fast-tracked wherever possible, under new plans agreed to tackle the scourge of small boat crossings.

Speaking this week, Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Minister for Interior Affairs of Albania, Bledi Çuçi, pledged to intensify joint work to tackle the problem of large numbers of Albanians taking the treacherous journey to the UK across the Channel at the hands of people smugglers.

Those coming from Albania – a safe and prosperous country – are travelling through multiple countries to make the journey to the UK. Many then make spurious asylum claims when they arrive.

Through the Nationality and Borders Act, introduced by the Home Secretary, asylum claims may be inadmissible if someone travels through a safe third country before reaching the UK.

People coming through this route will have claims processed immediately, with those who have no right to be in the UK being removed as soon as possible.

The Albanian government has also offered senior law enforcement support to the UK to provide UK authorities with vital intelligence and to support processing.

Since the historic readmission agreement signed with Albania last year, nearly 1,000 Albanian foreign national offenders have been removed from the UK.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

“Large numbers of Albanians are being sold lies by ruthless people smugglers and vicious organised crime gangs, leading them to take treacherous journeys in flimsy boats to the UK. This abuse of our immigration system and people risking their lives cannot go on.

Thanks to our excellent levels of co-operation with Albania, we will take every opportunity to speed up removal of Albanians with no right to be in the UK.

I want to thank my counterpart Bledi Çuçi for the work he and his government are doing – we are both steadfast in our commitment to stop this trend.”

Minister for Interior Affairs of Albania Bledi Çuçi, said:

“We discourage these illegal and dangerous practices.

The Home Secretary and I also discussed mid-term solutions to provide better opportunities for young people, and means of legal migration that enables skilled professionals and labour access to the UK.”

The UK and Albania work closely together to stop the exploitation of young Albanians being encouraged to come to the UK under false pretences and lies from callous criminal gangs.

To raise awareness of the risks and alternatives of arriving illegally via dangerous and unnecessary journeys, new hard-hitting Albanian language adverts were launched on 24 August, as part of a Home Office campaign.

The campaign, which fights back against the lies sold by people smuggling gangs on social media, is essential to tell people about new UK rules that will make it harder for those arriving illegally to remain and work in the UK.

Albanian adverts join those launched earlier this summer in key locations in France and Belgium, in the languages most frequently spoken by small boat arrivals.

The campaign’s guidance for people considering a small boat journey includes information about possible relocation to Rwanda or another safe country; restrictions on working and earning money; increased prison sentences for immigration offences; crucial information on safe alternative options while encouraging people to claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.