Number of Albanians crossing the Channel in small boats falls to 5%

Number of Albanians crossing the Channel to Britain in small boats falls in the face of tough new crackdown measures

  • 5% of small boat crossings were Albanian for January through March this year
  • This is a drop from the 28% of 45,755 small boat crossings made last year 

The number of Albanians travelling to Britain in small boats is falling in the face of tough new crackdown measures.

Officials say the winter fall-off in Channel migrants reaching the UK by sea is ‘dramatic’, with only ‘very small numbers’ in recent weeks.

The news comes after a high-tech sentry tower with cameras that can track 12 miles out to sea was erected by Border Force officials in Dover.

A small boat is rescued in English waters by BF Defender operated by Border Force and overseen by HMS Severn in the middle of the English Channel, November 2022

The 30ft-tall structure, which also has radar and infrared antennae, is part of a new surveillance system to spot and intercept migrant boats before they reach British shores.

Last year, 28 per cent of the 45,755 small-boat migrants crossing the Channel were Albanian. 

But, for the first three months of this year, Albanians are thought to make up less than five per cent of the 3,700 arrivals so far.

The development is being seen as a vindication of the Government’s tough moves to deny boat migrants the right to claim asylum.

Although it was reported yesterday that the drop could also be down to a decision by would-be migrants to opt for travelling by lorry instead, some 500 Albanians who entered the UK illegally have been deported since Rishi Sunak agreed a fast-track returns deal last December with Edi Rama, his Albanian counterpart.

A further 2,478 Albanians were deported between July 2022 and September 2022 after a readmission agreement.

The crackdown has been helped in recent weeks by US defence firm Anduril’s surveillance tower overlooking the Channel.

In 2021, the MoD entered into a £3.8 million contract with the firm, although it is not known if the Dover tower is from the MoD deal.

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