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Albanian ministers ‘say their countrymen are gaming the system by crossing The Channel to seek asylum in Britain’

Albanian ministers have conceded their citizens coming to Britain by small boat are ‘gaming the system’.

A delegation from Tirana yesterday backed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak‘s legislation to tackle the Channel crisis.

A high-level meeting heard there was a rolling effort by Albanian nationals to exploit immigration laws in Europe – with Britain currently a prime focus.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman met Albanian interior minister Bledar Cuci, who indicated his countrymen were ‘gaming the system’, a Government source said. 

They added: ‘The minister said he was a big supporter of the ‘stop the boats’ Bill and it was very much needed… It would bring a stop to his countrymen gaming the UK system.’

Almost 13,000 Albanian nationals crossed the Channel by small boat last year, up from just 800 in the previous 12 months (file image)

Almost 13,000 Albanian nationals crossed the Channel by small boat last year, up from just 800 in the previous 12 months (file image)

‘He said Albanians were very clever and that they find ways to get around countries’ systems and had done it all over Europe, in France and others. Now they’re in the UK and the Bill would bring a stop to it.’ 

Almost 13,000 Albanian nationals crossed the Channel by small boat last year, up from just 800 in the previous 12 months. 

Many lodge claims under Britain’s asylum regime or under ‘modern slavery’ rules.

Figures published earlier this month showed modern slavery claims reached a record high last year, boosted by a steep rise in Albanian applications.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama (left) during a meeting on March 23

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama (left) during a meeting on March 23

The Albanian minister’s comments come after the ambassador to Britain admitted migrants from his country are ‘pretending’ to be victims of modern slavery.

Qirjako Qirko said in December that many Albanians who cross the Channel by small boat are ‘just economic migrants’.

It comes as migrants suspected of pretending to be children could be forced into x-ray tests to determine their age under proposals being considered.

Amendments to the Illegal Migration Bill would allow age testing to go ahead even if an asylum seeker refused consent.

A mansion for migrants? 

A Georgian mansion used as an outdoor learning centre by generations of schoolchildren could be converted into accommodation for asylum seekers.

Marle Hall on the edge of Snowdonia, Wales, had been owned by Warwickshire council since 1971 and was described as an ‘absolute highlight’ of childhood for thousands of pupils.

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But after the mansion was put up for auction last year the local MP has been told it is now earmarked to house asylum seekers as the Home Office struggles to find suitable accommodation.

Robin Millar, Conservative MP for Aberconwy, said he had ‘strong concerns’ about its suitability, and called for proper consultation from the Home Office.

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