Number of Albanians arriving in UK by small boat increases by at least 1,300% in a year

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Migrants arrive at the Port of Dover, after being rescued while crossing the English Channel, in Dover, Britain, June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Migrants arrive at the Port of Dover, after being rescued while crossing the English Channel. (Reuters)

The number of Albanians crossing the Channel into the UK in small boats has increased by at least 1,300% in a year, according to a new report.

Some 11,102 Albanian nationals arrived by small boat from May to September 2022, official government figures showed.

In contrast, over the whole of 2021 there were a total of 815 who came by the same method, which is a difference of 1,300%.

The number of arrivals will be higher as the stats for 2022 only include five months rather than the whole year.

Read more: Stop using Albanians as excuse for your failures, Albania’s PM tells UK

RAMSGATE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: An aerial view of families inside a migrant holding facility at Manston Airfield on November 01, 2022 in Ramsgate, England. Several thousand migrants are currently staying at this former Royal Air Force base, with hundreds moved here over the weekend after a petrol-bomb attack on a processing centre in Dover. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The migrant holding facility at Manston Airfield. (Getty)

It comes as home secretary Suella Braverman is under pressure for her handling of severe overcrowding at the Manston migrant processing centre, as well as questions about her own efforts to procure hotel accommodation for those seeking asylum in the UK.

She has frequently singled out Albanian asylum seekers after their numbers crossing the Channel in small boats spiralled.

The criticism has led Albanian prime minister Edi Rama to accuse Braverman of “discriminating” against Albanians to “excuse policy failures” during the migration crisis.

Read more: Starmer accuses Sunak at PMQs of making ‘grubby deal’ with Braverman

Rama argued that 70% of the 140,000 Albanians who have moved to the UK were living in Italy and Greece, while 1,200 are business people, and that Albanians in the UK “work hard and pay tax”.

In total, 39,913 people have crossed the Channel into the UK so far this year and in October alone 6,912 people made the journey, with 1,065 arriving in a single day, figures showed.

This was the third highest monthly total this year, after 8,641 were recorded in August and 7,961 were recorded in September.

Watch: Keir Starmer asks PM, ‘Who broke’ UK’s asylum system?

Figures show Albanian nationals are less likely to be granted asylum than other nationalities with the current grant rate 53% compared to 76% for all nationalities.

The stats revealed just 14% of Albanian adult males whose cases were concluded in the latest year were granted protection, while the rate for children and female Albanian asylum seekers was significantly higher at 90%.

This made the average grant rate for cases being concluded higher overall.

MPs previously heard that some 12,000 Albanians have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year, of whom 10,000 are single, adult men.

This is compared with 50 in 2020.

Figures also showed from May to September 2022 Albanians comprised 42% of small boat crossings.

Nearly all of those who recently arrived after crossing the Channell in small boats will still be awaiting a decision on their claim so the grant rates could be substantially different.

STRASBOURG, FRANCE -  OCTOBER 12: Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama addresses to members of parliament at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France on October 12, 2022. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Albanian prime minister Edi Rama has urged Suella Braverman to stop “discriminating” against Albanians. (Getty)

On Wednesday, prime minister Rishi Sunak admitted the migrant crisis was a “serious and escalating problem” and “not enough” asylum claims were being processed.

He was challenged at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) by Sir Keir Starmer, who said responsibility for an asylum system which Braverman described as “broken” lies with the Tories, who have been in power since 2010.

The Labour leader said just 4% of the asylum claims made by people who crossed the Channel in small boats last year have been processed.

He added: “They’re only taking half the number of asylum decisions that they used to. That’s why the system is broken.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper had earlier said the French and British authorities need to step up work to prevent migrants risking the dangerous English Channel crossing.