Albania: Give amnesty to our ‘honest’ citizens who are in UK illegally

·2-min read
Edi Rama, the Albanian prime minister, held talks with Rishi Sunak last week - Henry Nicholls/Reuters Pool
Edi Rama, the Albanian prime minister, held talks with Rishi Sunak last week - Henry Nicholls/Reuters Pool

The Albanian government has demanded an amnesty for “honest” Albanians who are in the UK illegally without visas as part of the agreement to combat people-smuggling gangs and illegal migration.

Bledar Cuci, Albania’s interior minister, made the appeal in face-to-face talks with Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, during a visit to the UK with Edi Rama, the Albanian prime minister, last week.

Mr Cuci said the problem of illegal migration could not be addressed unless the UK Government “improved” the way it dealt with legal migration.

He is seeking an easing of the UK’s work visa regime to allow more Albanians to enter Britain legally to take up jobs including seasonal work, and an amnesty for those already in the UK.

“I asked Suella Braverman to review the regime of how Albanians who leave to work in the UK to be easier in order for legal employment and work seasonally,” said Mr Cuci.

“I asked her to give an amnesty for all Albanians without a visa but are honest without criminal records. Albanians are a vital community and well-integrated in the UK. It is unacceptable to single out the Albanian community in the UK and to be stereotyped due to some illegals.”

A source close to Mrs Braverman said: “The Home Secretary was happy to meet with minister Cuci to discuss the UK’s relations with Albania.

“She explained that Britons would always welcome Albanians travelling to the UK legally, and that she had great respect for their country. She also listened to his proposals with interest.”

Albanians accounted for about one third of the 45,700 people who reached the UK illegally in small boats across the Channel last year.

Around 800 have so far been deported, leaving thousands detained, pursuing asylum or modern slavery claims or working in the black economy.

Britain has agreed a deal with Albania to fast-track the return of Channel migrants who reach the UK illegally. Last week, Mr Sunak agreed a new deal for the early deportation of all eligible Albanian offenders held in British jails to serve the rest of their sentence in Albania.