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04th Dec 2022

Immigration minister says Albanians ‘should be barred’ from claiming UK asylum

Charlie Herbert

Immigration minister says Albanians should not be allowed to claim asylum in UK

In the first nine months of 2022, Albanians accounted for more than a third of people who made Channel crossings in small boats

The immigration minister has said that Albanians should be barred from claiming asylum in the UK.

Senior Tory MP Robert Jenrick said it is “very hard” to see how Albanians should be able to successfully claim asylum when they come from a “demonstrably safe” country.

Speaking to GB News, the minister said current levels of migration into the UK were “unsustainable.”

The politician told GB News: “Albania is a demonstrably safe country. It is very hard to see how an Albanian should be able to successfully claim asylum here in the UK.

“We have a returns agreement, which was signed a year ago, and a thousand Albanians have gone back already. We are looking at what we can do there.

“We are also pursuing the diplomatic channels.”

He went on to warn that illegal immigration was likely to be an issue for “many years to come” and said ministers were in agreement that the overall number of people entering the country is too high.

“We can’t have a million people entering the country in a single year and net migration of half a million – it’s just not sustainable,” he said.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats is at a record high. More than 40,000 people have made the crossing in 2022.

In the first nine months of this year, Albanians made up 35 percent of those who made the crossing.

The immigration ministers comments come after the Home Office declined to comment on a report in the Sunday Times which claimed ministers are working on legislation which could ban asylum seekers who enter by illegal routes from ever settling in the UK.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is said to be urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to back her plans to put every illegal migrant into detention on arrival.

And last week, Rishi Sunak held talks with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in which they agreed to close “loopholes” preventing the rapid return of failed asylum seekers, Sky News reports.

But Rama said the UK should stop blaming Albanians for the migrant crisis, and needed to stop using Albanian immigrants to “excuse policy failures.”

Jenrick also highlighted the rules on student visas – and the number of dependents they can bring into the country while they study – as an area that is “ripe for reform.”

“What I’m concerned about is there are people coming to universities here as a backdoor way of bringing their families into the UK and staying here for a prolonged period,” he said.

“A very significant number of people use this as a route to a life in the UK. This is a big driver of net migration.”

He said they were also determined to reduce the “huge backlog” in asylum cases, suggesting they could adopt a “lighter touch process” for those coming from countries for which there are “extremely high grant rates”.

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