60% of small boat arrivals crossing Channel are from Albania - GB News can reveal
More than 6,000 Albanians have crossed the Channel so far this year, GB News can reveal
The UK government has secured an emergency agreement to rapidly remove thousands of Albanians arriving here by small boat, as GB News confirms a massive 60% of arrivals across the Channel are currently from the tiny Balkan nation.
The deal will see senior Albanian law enforcement officials based in the UK within days to help identify those with no legitimate claim for asylum more quickly.
The agreement between London and Tirana has been reached as Border officials struggle to cope with a huge surge in arrivals from the country of less than 3 million people.
GB News has been told that more than 6,000 Albanians have crossed the Channel so far this year.
And in recent months the percentage of Albanians on the small boats has increased significantly compared to other nations - six in 10 of those currently arriving in UK waters are from Albania.
The Home Office said Albanians reaching the UK by small boat have travelled through multiple safe countries before making the crossing and then "many make spurious asylum claims when they arrive".
Under the new agreement, Albanians coming through this route will have "claims processed immediately," with those who have no right to be in the UK removed in a fast-tracked removal programme.
GB News understands officials hope the fast-track scheme will result in an initial asylum assessment within two to three weeks, and then removal of anyone denied asylum after that.
The new deal builds on a landmark "readmission agreement" signed with Albania last year.
Since then, a thousand Albanian criminals have been deported to their home country.
The Home Secretary has signed five other readmission agreements in the past 15 months, including one last week with Pakistan.
But the new Albanian agreement is unique and introduced as a specific measure to deal with a fast growing problem.
Priti Patel said: "Large numbers of Albanians are being sold lies by 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."
Another part of the agreement between the two governments will see tailored social media adverts in Albanian, countering the false narrative being put out by the people smugglers as they tout for business.
The Albanian Minster for the Interior Bledi Cuci said he had 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."
The Home Office has not expanded on what that might entail, or how much it might cost.
The new deal is due to come into force from next week.