Rishi Sunak claims UK is increasing deportations to Albania

Prime Minister has made 'stop the boats' slogan centrepiece of his first weeks in office

Rishi Sunak is interviewed by Piers Morgan in the flat above 10 Downing Street. Photo: No 10 Downing Street
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Marking his 100th day in Downing Street, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his government’s deal with Tirana is already proving effective in breaking the “ridiculous” cycle of Albanians using illegal means to enter the UK.

Amid growing pressure from within his own party to stamp out illegal immigration, the Prime Minister said he had taken action to protect the UK’s borders during his first 100 days in office.

He claimed that the deal his administration struck with Tirana last December is already being used to deport Albanians and that the numbers being returned to the Balkan nation would increase over the coming months.

In an interview with Talk TV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored, Mr Sunak said the deal signed with France last November has led to patrols on French beaches to be stepped up in a bid to clamp down on people attempting to cross the Channel illegally.

“Secondly, I’ve got a brand new deal with Albania,” he said.

“Albania accounted for 30 per cent of all illegal migrants [in 2022]. Of course, that’s ridiculous.”

While Albania is deemed a safe country, thousands of people who arrive in the UK from there attempt to claim asylum, citing modern slavery.

Mr Sunak said the agreement has opened the door for a new system whereby Albanians who cross the Channel in small boats will be swiftly sent back to their homeland.

Mr Sunak said the deal signed with France in November had led to patrols on French beaches being stepped up. Photo: No 10 Downing Street

“That is already happening,” he added. “We’re putting migrants from Albania on flights and that will ratchet up over the year.”

But he said tough new laws are needed to enable the UK to stamp out the practice of illegal immigration.

His vision, he said, is for a new immigration system to be established in which anyone who arrives on UK shores via illegal means will have their claims of asylum processed within days or weeks, rather than months or years.

If their bid to remain in the UK fails, they will be deported back to their place or origin or another country.

“And if we do that, that’s how we will break the cycle,” he said.

He also said his administration planned to push ahead with the controversial plan to send illegal migrants to Rwanda to have their claims processed.

Rishi Sunak's first 100 days as Prime Minister - in pictures

Updated: February 03, 2023, 8:10 AM