Albanian police could be brought to the UK to observe migrant arrivals and pass on intelligence in a bid to crack down on Channel crossings.
The plan, part of a deal struck between Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Albanian government, could see officers from the southern European country taken to the Kent coast while migrants are processed.
The Home Office says Albania has pledged to provide support by sending senior law enforcement officers to the UK to help with the rapid deportation of those traveling to the Kingdom -United by small boats.
Albanian officers will also provide authorities with information and treatment support, the Interior Ministry said.
Government officials estimate that around 60% of migrants crossing the Channel each day are now Albanian, although figures fluctuate.
Ms Patel and Bledi Cucí, Albania’s home affairs minister, also pledged to speed up deportations of Albanians without the right to be in the UK from next week when they discussed the situation on Tuesday evening.
Controls of migrants arriving by boat and suspected of being Albanian will be accelerated, it was heard.
Advertisements in Albanian on Facebook and Instagram were launched on Wednesday in an attempt to dissuade people from making the trip.
The campaign will target people living in specific regions of northern France and Belgium and “who meet certain criteria, such as being away from home”, the interior ministry said.
Officials are believed to be still working out the finer details of the arrangement, so little further information is available on how it will work or when it will begin.
The Home Office says Albania is a ‘safe and prosperous country’ and many nationals ‘travel through several countries to get to the UK’ before making ‘bogus asylum claims on arrival’ .
Mr Cuci called the Channel crossings ‘dangerous and illegal’ and said he had discussed with Ms Patel ‘medium-term solutions to provide better opportunities for young people’ in Albania, as well as ways of ‘legal migration that will allow skilled professionals and labor access to Britain”.
Fewer than 1,000 Albanian offenders have been deported from the UK since a deportation agreement was signed last year.
Ms Patel said: “Large numbers of Albanians are being sold lies by ruthless smugglers and vicious organized crime gangs, tricking them into making treacherous journeys in flimsy boats to the UK.
“This abuse of our immigration system and people risking their lives cannot continue.”
The Home Office added: “The Albanian government has also offered support to law enforcement in the UK to provide UK authorities with vital intelligence and to support treatment.”
Increase in the number of Albanians crossing the English Channel
The ISU union, which represents staff working for the Interior Ministry’s law enforcement agencies, said its members had seen an increase in the number of Albanians crossing the English Channel in recent months.
Lucy Moreton of the ISU union said the precise breakdown by nationality of immigrants using this route “changes from time to time” but “often reflects the nationalities of those seeking to facilitate the traffic”.
She said: “Members report the working assumption that the recent increase in the number of Albanians aims to replace those who have been arrested, imprisoned and/or deported due to increased police activity in the area of organized crime.
“It’s just a guess, but it makes sense.”
Some 1,295 migrants arrived in the UK on Monday in 27 boats – the highest daily total since current records began in 2018,
Weather and the effective interception of boats at sea have been suggested as some of the reasons for the high number of crossings.
According to Ministry of Defense (MoD) figures, more than 22,800 people have arrived in the UK after sailing busy shipping lanes from France in small boats such as dinghies so far in 2022 .
More than 20,000 people have crossed the Channel to the UK in small boats this year
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