Modern slavery: the high number of Albanian “victims” arriving in the UK

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More than half of the victims of modern slavery arrived in the UK via immigration boats from Albania in the first half of 2022, according to statistics and reports published by the Migration Watch think tank.

In a press release, published in mid-January, Migration Watch UK said that according to Home Office figures, “more than half of recent slavery cases were among migrants crossing the Channel by boat towards the UK”.

The organization says that this figure is “five times more than the second largest group of migrants, the Eritreans, who applied to the UK on the grounds that they were victims of modern slavery”.

The head of British NGO Migration Watch UK, Lord Green of Deddington, the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, wrote in a letter: “The organisation’s primary concern is the massive level of integration among arrivals, the UK population will increase by 10 million in 25 years.” coming”.

Demand a sustainable immigration!

According to the organization, if this population increase occurs, 82 percent of the additional 10 million residents will be immigrants and their children. The organization adds that although immigration is “a natural part of an open economy and society, it must be sustainable and must be approved by the British.” on how to reduce immigration.

The year 2022 saw a large number of migrants pass through the Channel according to the British government

According to the organization, in the first half of 2022, “59 percent of all asylum applications due to slavery were considered for the previous year. The previous record for most applications for one nationality was 74 percent, related to Iranians during 2019. However, the number of Albanian asylum applications for the same The reason in 2022 is five times the Iranian total since 2019.”

Members of the current British Conservative government considered that at least some, if not all, Albanian asylum applications might be bogus and that gangs were training some immigrants to claim that they had been abused, enslaved and victims of a form of modern slavery.

Is it really false allegations?

Migrant Watch UK says that less than half (22 to 45 per cent) of asylum applications on grounds of slavery eventually receive a positive response from the authorities. The number of people crossing the Channel from Europe towards the UK has been increasing since 2018. During the same year, Twelve people used the cause of slavery to apply for asylum, while in 2019 that number was only 159. In 2020, that number rose to 1,176. The numbers consistently went over 1,000 for the same reason in subsequent years, including the first half of 2022.

But compared to the overall numbers of people crossing the Channel, the numbers seeking asylum due to modern slavery laws remain relatively small. In 2020, Migration Watch says that the proportion of such applications represents 13.9 percent of all asylum applications for all those who crossed the channel towards the United Kingdom, and it decreased to 6.8 percent in 2021, and in the first half of 2022 until June it was estimated at 9.1 percent. Overall, since 2018, 8.6 percent of all arrivals made this type of asylum claim after crossing the Canal.

The nationalities of asylum seekers as victims of modern slavery have varied slightly over the years. In 2019, Iran topped the list with 74.2 percent. In 2020, the majority of these applications were from Sudanese nationals (31.7 percent of the total). In 2021, the largest number of applications were from Vietnamese citizens (24.6 percent). In the first half of 2022, more than half of the applications were from Albanian citizens (51 percent).

Unacceptable requests!

Migration Watch UK has also published a table showing how many such requests have been made. According to their data, only five applications were ruled in favor in 2018. In 2019 this number increased to 51, it rose again in 2020 to 123, in 2021 the number decreased to 73 and in the first half of 2022 it reached 38.

Alp Mehmet, head of Migration Watch and a former ambassador to Iceland, told The Independent that he believes “Albanians and their traffickers have found a huge loophole in our legislation and are exploiting it to the fullest.” This adds “great pressure to an already overburdened system,” he said.

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As for Mark Davies of the Refugee Council, he considered that these accusations made by Migration Watch are “dangerous” because they are based on the assumption that “all Albanians fabricate the state of modern slavery only in their files.”

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‘dangerous’ assumptions

The Independent reported that Davies also said that anyone applying for asylum should “get a fair assessment”. “The situation for people from Albania crossing the canal is complex, as we know from our work that trafficking and exploitation is a problem for many from this country,” Davies said.

On January 12, the Interior Ministry said it had deported 43 Albanians on a flight. And the newspaper “The Independent” reported that about 27 of the deportees were convicted of crimes “including drug trafficking, robbery, fraud and theft.” The Home Office told The Independent that at least six of that group “arrived in the UK via the Channel”.

Britain’s Conservative government is working on deals with its Albanian counterpart. In December 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his government hoped to deport thousands of Albanians and would seek to tighten laws relating to modern slavery.

In a statement to The Independent, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said: “We’re working around the clock to bring back migrants who don’t have a right to be here. This is an important part of our plan to keep communities safe and take back control of the asylum and immigration system.” In the first nine months of 2022, the proportion of all migrants crossing the Channel to Britain was estimated to be Albanian.

One of the problems facing the UK government at the moment is that a large proportion of asylum applications are still pending and the government faces a huge backlog in processing applications before it can deport anyone.

Big backlog!

In 2022, there were more than 143,000 asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their asylum claims, and nearly 100,000 people had been waiting for a response for more than six months.

The UK government and many European countries consider Albania a “safe European country” yet some statistics indicate that at least a third of its citizens live below the poverty line.

Migrants are removed from the Border Force compound in Dover, Kent, after being intercepted in the canal on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

According to Dr. Andy Khojchaj, Professor of Law at University College London, Albania has an estimated youth unemployment rate of around 60 percent. The Independent reported that the country suffers from problems of blood feud, corruption and gang violence.

Dr. Khojchaj believes that “the main reasons for citizens to leave Albania” is the lack of economic opportunities. The speaker also believes that the new agreement presented by Rishi Sunak can be successful as it offered investment in “economic growth and investment as well as opportunities for youth and education, two areas that somehow address some social and economic aspects.”

In response to a question about whether Albania is a safe country or not, Dr. Khochchaj replied that although most EU countries consider Albania a “safe” country, he considers that there are a lot of underlying issues that make it unsafe especially when it comes to the categories fragile in society.

Emma Wallis/MB

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