Albanians make up more than half of modern slavery claimants arriving by small boats - stark new figures

Over 50 per cent of those claiming to be victims of modern slavery and who entered the UK by small boat came from Albania
Over 50 per cent of those claiming to be victims of modern slavery and who entered the UK by small boat came from Albania

At least 2,300 people entering the UK illegally by small boat in 2022 were likely to claim or be identified as potential victims of modern slavery

Published

Over half of modern slavery claimants arriving by small boat across the English Channel are Albanian according to the latest government figures.

Research conducted by Migration Watch UK, following Freedom of Information requests, shows that over 50 per cent of those claiming to be victims of modern slavery and who entered the UK by small boat in the first half of 2022 came from Albania.

The figures are a significant increase on 2021 when Albanians made up just over 11 per cent of those referred as possible victims of modern slavery.

The figures are a significant increase on 2021 when Albanians made up just over 11 per cent of those referred as possible victims of modern slavery
The figures are a significant increase on 2021 when Albanians made up just over 11 per cent of those referred as possible victims of modern slavery

The requests reveal that other nationalities arriving by small boat and claiming to be victims of modern slavery include Iranians, Eritreans, Sudanese and Vietnamese.

Migration Watch UK estimates that by the end of 2022 at least 2,300 people entering the UK illegally by small boat were likely to claim or be identified as potential victims of modern slavery. However, a large influx of Albanians crossing from May to September means the final figure could be much higher.

Albanians accounted for just over a third of people detected crossing the Channel in small boats in the first nine months of last year according to official Home Office statistics published in November. They also made up nearly half of those detected in July to September. It is a sharp increase on previous years, with only 3 per cent of arrivals in 2021 being of Albanian nationality, and just 1 per cent in 2020.

Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch said: “What this remarkable data shows is that Albanians and their traffickers have identified a huge loophole in our legislation and are exploiting it to the hilt.

"Their gaming of the system is adding massively to the great pressure that the already overwhelmed system is under. The government has no option but to plug this gaping hole, and do it quickly.”

Last week GB News exclusively revealed that the first Channel migrants of 2023 had arrived at Dover harbour in Kent. Forty-four people on board a small inflatable were transferred to a Border Force vessel and taken to the Manston processing centre.

Since then, strong winds have thwarted any further crossings, but thousands of migrants are expected to attempt the journey once the weather improves.

Official figures reveal that last year 45,756 people crossed the English Channel in inflatable boats.

The latest arrivals have come despite promises by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “pass new laws to stop small boats” and pledging that if migrants come to the UK illegally they will be “detained and swiftly removed."

Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick said the government was 'working around the clock to remove those with no right to be here'
Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick said the government was 'working around the clock to remove those with no right to be here'

Last night, six Albanians who have arrived in the UK illegally in small boats were deported.

The government has signed an agreement with the government in Tirana which it says will speed up the removal of Albanians with no legal right to be in the UK.

Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick said: “We are working around the clock to remove those with no right to be here. This is a crucial part of our plan to keep communities safe and to restore fairness to our asylum and immigration system.

“Not only are we securing our borders and strengthening deterrents to our asylum system, but we’re also making the UK safer by removing criminals from the country.”