LONDON: The UK should prevent Albanian migrants from seeking asylum in Britain, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has said.
Sky News reported that Jenrick, who assumed the ministerial role on Oct. 25 as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet, said that Albanians should be “excluded from the right to claim asylum.”
He added that Britain should tighten its policy toward the Balkan country because it is a “demonstrably safe” place, describing the numbers of Albanians arriving in the UK as “unsustainable.”
Albanian nationals made up more than one-third of the 33,000 people who crossed the English Channel in boats from January to September this year.
Amid growing pressure on the government to tackle the migrant crisis, Jenrick said that the Albanian factor was now the “number one priority.”
He told GB News: “Albania is a demonstrably safe country. It is very hard to see how an Albanian should be able to successfully claim asylum here in the UK.
“We have a returns agreement, which was signed a year ago, and 1,000 Albanians have gone back already. We are looking at what we can do there. We are also pursuing the diplomatic channels.
“We can’t have 1 million people entering the country in a single year and net migration of half a million — it’s just not sustainable.
“What I’m concerned about is there are people coming to universities here as a backdoor way of bringing their families into the UK and staying here for a prolonged period.
“A very significant number of people use this as a route to a life in the UK. This is a big driver of net migration.”
PM Sunak and his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama recently discussed efforts to end policies that have led to Britain being unable to efficiently deport failed Albanian asylum seekers.
But the Albanian leader also warned that the UK should avoid blaming Albanians and using migrants as an “excuse” for government failures.