UK invests millions in Albania as number of nationals seeking asylum rises

Latest figures show more than 12,000 young Albanian men have sought residence in the UK this year

A group of people thought to be migrants are taken to Dover, Kent, onboard the Ramsgate Lifeboat following an incident in the English Channel on October 27, 2022. PA
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The UK is investing in projects in Albania as the numbers of nationals seeking asylum in Britain has hit a record high.

More than 12,000 adult men from Albania have travelled to the UK this year in small boats, the Home Office revealed this week.

The number represents up to 2 per cent of all men aged between 20 and 40 in the southern European country, according to officials.

The UK is set to invest millions in infrastructure projects including a hydro electric dam, industrial parks, environmental schemes and leisure facilities, according to The Telegraph.

It is understood almost £9m will be used to develop the region around Has and the town of Kukes, in the hope of dissuading people from leaving.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama recently urged nationals to invest in tourism instead of paying people smugglers.

“With the £30,000 you pay the traffickers, with the added support of the government you could set up an agro-tourism business at your grandfather's house in Kukes or Has,” he said.

UK officials said that the “exponential rise” in Albanian migrants is because of criminal gangs “gaining a foothold” in northern France.

Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine Channel threat commander for Border Force, said the gangs put migrants in touch with Albanian gangs in the UK, who are involved in the drugs trade, human trafficking, guns and prostitution, he told the home affairs committee.

The news comes at a time when UK officials revealed they were spending about £7 million ($8.12m) a day housing asylum seekers in hotels, with the cost expected to rise.

The number of asylum seekers crossing the Channel to the UK on small boats this year has so far reached 38,000.

Updated: June 20, 2023, 1:38 PM