Migrants arriving in UK after crossing Channel to be flown to Albania
Migrants who arrive in UK after crossing Channel in small boats will be flown 1,500 miles to new processing facility in Albania in new asylum crackdown
- Asylum seekers would be detained 1,500 miles away while claims are processed
- It comes after record numbers of migrants have been stopped by Border Force
- Home Secretary has previously vowed to make Channel crossings ‘unviable’
Migrants who arrive in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats will be flown to Albania as part of government plans to crack down on illegal immigration.
Those attempting to claim asylum would be detained in a processing centre in the Balkans – 1,500 miles from the UK – while their claims are dealt with.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has faced mounting pressure after the number of migrants detained by Border Force hit record highs this year, said she hopes the new measures will deter people from making the crossing.
Migrants who arrive in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats will be flown 1,500 miles to Albania as part of government plans to crack down on illegal immigration
Officials in London and the Albanian capital of Tirana are reportedly close to agreeing a deal on the new centre, The Sun reports.
Figures released at the end of last month showed the number of migrants detained by Border Force crossing the Channel by small boats reached 16,299 by September 23 this year – nearly double the number who arrived in the whole of 2020.
On September 6, 2021, Sky News reported that 1,000 people reached the UK – a single-day record.
In 2020 a total of 8,410 people were detained in small boat incidents.
At present, most of the migrants who arrive in Kent are initially housed at a former army barracks in Folkestone which was set on fire in a riot over conditions in January amid a coronavirus outbreak.
Asylum seekers are free to come and go from the camp, and adults have an initial interview before being sent to accommodation centres across Britain, paid for by UK taxpayers and provided by private contractors.
The migrants are given £37.75 per week for essentials like food, clothes and toiletries while they wait for a decision on their asylum application. Kent County Council normally takes unaccompanied children into its care.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, pictured ahead of this week’s Conservative Party Conference, has previously vowed to make illegal immigration across the Channel ‘unviable’
The Albanian detention centre, part of the new Nationality and Borders Bill, is the latest proposal from the Home Secretary who has vowed to make illegal immigration across the Channel ‘unviable’.
In June, she was in discussions with Denmark to share an immigration centre in Africa. Denmark was said to be considering a site in Rwanda.
Ms Patel previously threatened to turn boats around and send them back to Europe as part of her ‘pushback’ plan.
However, French politicians branded the Home Secretary a ‘clown’, while Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin claimed any action to send migrant boats back would be illegal. He said: ‘France will not accept any practice that goes against maritime law, and will not accept any financial blackmail’.
Earlier this year, the UK and France announced an agreement to more than double the number of police patrolling French beaches.
It was the second pledge of its kind in a year, in a bid to stop small boats from leaving France.
As part of the deal, the Government pledged to give France £54million to support its efforts to stop small boat crossings.
Just days ago French police shot migrants with potentially lethal rubber bullets to stop their illegal boat crossing the Channel to the UK.
The shooting happened in darkness on September 30 at Dunkirk as eight Iranian Kurds carried a dinghy towards the sea. It was destined to bring 40 migrants from France.
Figures released at the end of last month showed the number of migrants detained by Border Force crossing the Channel by small boats reached 16,299 by September 23 this year – nearly double the number who arrived in the whole of 2020
It marked a major escalation of tension on the beaches as gendarmerie night patrols struggled to control the armada of boats heading for Britain and after Ms Patel had threatened to withdraw the £54million if officials do not reduce the stream of migrant boats.
In response, French General Frantz Tavart said he would call off nightly patrols if the funding was withdrawn.
Charities urged the Home Office to take a ‘more humane and responsible approach’ towards asylum seekers and said humanitarian visas were needed to help ‘prevent the chaos of the Channel crossings’.
Earlier this year, the UK and France announced an agreement to more than double the number of police patrolling French beaches in a bid to reduce the number of Channel crossings
Ms Patel has also previously worked with Albania in her attempts to crack down on immigration.
In July, she signed a deal with Albanian minister of interior Bledar Cuci which would make it easier to remove convicted offenders, as well as making it simpler to move failed Albanian asylum seekers and those who have overstayed their visas.
At the time, the Home Secretary said: ‘I am determined to fix our immigration system, clamp down on illegal entry, and remove those with no right to be in UK as swiftly as possible.
‘Our New Plan for Immigration, coupled with this new agreement, will speed up the removal of Albanian nationals who have committed crimes in the UK and overstayed their welcome.
‘I make no apology for removing dangerous foreign criminals to protect the British people and, so far this year, more than 1,000 foreign criminals have been deported, with more being removed every single week.’
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