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Milestone Reached in UK-Albania Agreement on Illegal Migration

Over 1,000 Albanian nationals have been returned since the UK-Albania joint communiqué was signed on 13 December



Following the landmark joint communiqué between the Prime Ministers of Albania and the UK on tackling illegal migration, operational teams in the UK and Albania have intensified operational work to address illegal migration, particularly the small boat crossings in the English Channel.


The UK and Albanian authorities have been working together to make it more difficult for illegal migrants to arrive and stay in the UK. Since the communiqué was agreed, new figures show that over 1,000 Albanian nationals have been returned to Albania. This figure is a combination of failed asylum seekers, foreign national offenders and voluntary returns and covers the period from agreement of the joint communiqué on 13 December up to the first week in April.


UK and Albanian operational teams have set up a joint migration task force, which serves as the main gateway to coordinate specialised operational measures and actions to manage illegal migration of Albanian citizens to the UK.


These include reinforced checks on free movement criteria at all border crossing points across the country, increased verifications on Albanian citizens who are found to be illegally in the territory of the UK, and exchange of senior-level police officers in both countries.


Head of the Albanian Border and Migration Police, Saimir Boshnjaku, said:

We are working hand in hand with our British colleagues under the joint migration task force to prevent irregular migration to the UK and related crimes.
The Border and Migration Police urges all citizens to follow the legal way of migration and assures that all persons breaking the law will face the consequences.

UK Director General of Immigration Enforcement, Tony Eastaugh, said:

These numbers are evidence that our partnership with the government of Albania to speed up the removal of those with no legal right to be in the UK is working.
As we intensify this activity further, Albanian nationals who enter the UK illegally and have no right to be here should be under no illusion that we will remove them as quickly as possible.

In 2022, there were 1,888 returns of Albanian nationals, of which 954 (51%) were enforced returns and 934 (49%) were voluntary returns. The number of voluntary returns is 90% higher than in 2021 (492). This is a new and encouraging trend, which we have seen continue into 2023. Already in 2023, from January to March, 795 Albanian nationals have been returned. Of these, 389 (49%) were enforced returns and 406 (51%) were voluntary returns. These operations are expected to intensify further in the upcoming months.


The Border and Migration Police of Albania and the UK Home Office are determined to put a stop to illegal migration which seriously impedes the prosperity and safety of citizens and enables criminality, exploitation and other forms of illegality.


The UK’s latest illegal migration statistics, published this morning (Monday 24 April) and covering a range of nationalities, also show that:

  • enforcement visits conducted between January and March 2023 have increased since the same period last year (a 53% rise, from 2,111 to 3,228)

  • as at 31 March 2023, the number of legacy cases in the asylum initial decision backlog was 11% lower than as at 31 December 2022

  • the number of asylum decision-makers has increased since July last year. As at 1 March 2023, there were 1,281 asylum decision makers, 48% higher than on 1 July 2022 (when there were 865)

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