According to a committee of MPs, there is "little evidence" that Albanians are at risk in their country and require asylum in the United Kingdom.
According to the Committee on Home Affairs, Albanian nationals should not be routinely granted asylum. In the six months leading up to last June, the majority of Albanian asylum claims were initially approved.
Some asylum seekers, notably women, have been trafficked and require protection, according to lawmakers. The government stated that it was collaborating with Albania to prevent illegal immigration. It follows a rise in the number of Albanians arriving in the United Kingdom via small vessels last year.
The cross-party committee highlighted in a report released on Monday that Albanian migrants to the United Kingdom are not likely to require asylum. The committee reported that during this time period, nine countries, including Germany, did not approve any asylum claims from Albania. It demanded an explanation from the Home Office as to why the UK's acceptance rate was so high in comparison to other nations.
More than a quarter of the 45,755 individuals who crossed the English Channel in small boats in 2022 were Albanian, according to the report, "and the majority claimed asylum." The number of Albanians entering the United Kingdom via this route increased from 800 in 2021 to 12,301 in 2022.
MPs stated that Albania is a secure nation. It is a candidate to join the European Union and is not at war. The committee determines that the United Kingdom has no obvious basis for routinely accepting thousands of asylum applications from Albanian citizens.
It was found that improved job opportunities and higher wages were significant motivators for Albanians to migrate to the United Kingdom. MPs also noted that there were "unquestionably instances of Albanian citizens being trafficked into the United Kingdom." It was stated that more needed to be done to assist Albanian victims of human trafficking, particularly women.
The committee's chairperson, Labour MP Dame Diana Johnson, stated that there had been a significant increase in asylum claims from a supposedly peaceful country. While it is essential that questions are posed and lessons are learned, it is evident that the immigration landscape is not static and will continue to change.
MPs recommended the government promote intermittent work visas in agriculture and construction to allow more Albanians to enter the United Kingdom without illegally crossing the English Channel. In addition, the report stated that appropriate safeguards must be in place before any victims of human trafficking are returned to Albania, and it recommended that the United Kingdom maintain strong ties with the Albanian government.
Dame Diana stated that the United Kingdom must strengthen its overall approach to asylum. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated last week in Kent that his plan to combat migration is advancing, but that "work" remains. A Home Office spokesperson stated that stopping the boats is the government's main priority.
It continued Last year, a quarter of those who arrived in the United Kingdom by small boat were from Albania, a safe European country and NATO ally, putting additional strain on our asylum system.