Priti Patel reveals plan to cut numbers of Albanians in migrant crossings

The government now believes around 60% of migrants crossing the English channel each day are Albanian, reports John Ray.

In a bid to tackle Channel crossings, Albanian police could be brought to the UK to observe migrant arrivals and pass on intelligence.

As part of a deal struck between Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Albanian government, the plan may see officers taken to the Kent coast while migrants are processed to help UK authorities with information.

But it is yet to be confirmed when this could take effect.

The move comes amid reports of growing numbers of people from the eastern European country making the journey from France.

It is understood government officials believe around 60% of migrants making the crossing each day now are Albanian, although figures fluctuate.

Ms Patel and Bledi Çuçi, Albania’s minister for interior affairs, also pledged to speed up removals of Albanians with no right to be in the UK from next week when they discussed the situation on Tuesday night.

Checks on migrants arriving by boat who are suspected of being Albanian will be fast-tracked, it is understood.

Adverts in Albanian on Facebook and Instagram were also launched on Wednesday to try and deter people from making the journey.

Home Office campaign poster translates to: "You could face up to 4 years in jail and deportation for coming to the UK illegally." Credit: Home Office.

The campaign will target those in specific regions in northern France and Belgium and “who meet certain criteria, such as being away from home”, the Home Office said.

Officials are thought to be still thrashing out the finer details of the arrangement, so little further information on how it will work is currently available.

According to the Home Office, Albania is a “safe and prosperous country” and many nationals “are travelling through multiple countries to make the journey to the UK” before making “spurious asylum claims when they arrive”.

Fewer than 1,000 Albanian offenders have been deported from the UK since a removals agreement was signed last year.

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Ms 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 removals 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.”

Mr 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.”