Irregular immigration | The Albanian mafias, in the crosshairs of the United Kingdom

Irregular immigration |  The Albanian mafias, in the crosshairs of the United Kingdom

2023-06-04 21:09:39

The British Government has undertaken a Hard battle to stop the irregular arrival of Albanian immigrants through the English Channel. In addition to the bilateral agreements signed between the two countries to speed up deportations, they have added police investigations against organized crime and publicity campaigns to warn the citizens of that country about the consequences of entering the country illegally. United Kingdom. The main purpose of the Executive is to comply with the proclamation ‘Stop the boats’ (stop the boats) and win back the support of the staunchest defenders of the Brexit.

The entry of Albanian citizens on boats coming from France it shot itself last summer, representing almost 30% of the total arrivals in the last year. Albanian asylum applications in 2022 was about 16,000, triple that registered in the previous year, according to data from the British Ministry of the Interior collected by the Migration Observatory. An increase that the Albanian authorities attribute to the poor economic situation in the country and a increased presence of organized crime in the north of France. The British Government insists, however, on stressing that Albania is a safe country.

Campaigns and investigations

The data have added pressure to the conservative Executive of Rishi Sunak, who has launched a new campaign to deter migrants in their country of origin. “If you enter the UK illegally, you risk being detained and deported,” read the banners, which will begin to be posted on Albanian soil next week. The measure has aroused opposition criticism Labor and human rights defenders, who have described it as “useless”. “If the government wants to put an end to organized gangs, it must create more safe ways for refugees to ask for asylum”, stated the director of the organization Refugee ActionTim Naor Hilton.

The fight against the mafias has intensified in recent months. The National Crime Agency —equivalent to the US FBI—revealed in mid-May to be behind a hundred lawyers allegedly linked to a human trafficking network originating in Albania. “One of the things that we have detected is a greater use of third parties by the organized crime to abuse the protection mechanisms”, explained just a few weeks ago the person in charge of the modern slavery and human trafficking unit of the organization, Rob Richardson. The British Government trusts the approval of the controversial Illegal Immigration Act, which is being processed in Parliament, to end temporary protection measures for asylum seekers.

Bilateral agreements

Parallel to the approval of the new law, the Executive has already launched several bilateral agreements with Albania to initiate the repatriations of its citizens. One of them, signed last December, includes the reinforcement of controls at all border points and greater cooperation with the security forces of the two countries. Since the agreement went into effect, more than a thousand Albanians have returned to their country, voluntarily or involuntarily.

Among the returnees are several hundreds of prisoners who were serving sentences in the UK for crimes committed on British soil. The deportation of prisoners is another of the agreements reached between the two countries, which includes the commitment of the Sunak government to carry out investments to improve the prison system from Albania. The goal is to deport prisoners with the highest sentences in exchange for about €15 million. Something that, according to the authorities, will save taxpayers money.

international collaboration

Both Sunak and some ministers of his Government have carried out numerous trips in recent months to close cooperation agreements with the countries of origin. The Secretary of State for Migrations, Robert Jenrickhas visited several North African countries this week to try to move towards similar agreements, while Sunak himself has insisted on the need to close new deals at the meeting of the European Political Community in Moldova.

“We are putting the fight to the illegal migration as a priority on the international agenda. This matter requires collaboration and the UK is taking the lead,” the Prime Minister wrote on Twitter on Thursday. Sunak hopes to reach an agreement with the European Union shortly after his meeting with the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyenon the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit held in Reykjavik.

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