A proposal by Conservative backbench MPs to immediately return Albanian asylum seekers has faced serious criticism.
The backbenchers, led by David Davis, are demanding emergency legislation to allow for the summary return of Albanian asylum seekers, even in cases of trafficking. The proposers state, ‘if they have really been taken against their will, then they could not reasonably object to being returned to their own homes.’
This proposal stems from inflammatory comments inflammatory comments made by both former home secretary Priti Patel and current home secretary Suella Braverman, with Braverman stating ‘Albania is a safe country…. the truth is that many of [Albanian migrants] are not modern slaves and their claims of being trafficked are lies.’
Statistics do not bear this out. 55% of adult asylum claims from Albanians have been successful in the UK, rising to 90% for female claimants. Moreover, the safety of return for many of these claimants is highly doubtful. A report by UNICEF earlier this year noted that 68% of Albanian migrants trafficked to the UK had familial or close social ties to their traffickers. The government’s own statistics accept that children account for approximately half of all trafficking victims from Albania, who have often been abandoned by their parents.
As a result, the proposal has been criticised. Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty UK’s refugee and migrant rights program director, described it as ‘an unlawful and foolish proposal… [trying] to evade responsibilities.’ Similarly, Mark Davies, The Refugee Council’s head of campaigns, said “the approach David Davis is suggesting falls at the first hurdle…. There is something fundamentally flawed in his view that you can only make an asylum claim if there is evidence that it is the act of a state actor that is leading you to claim asylum, which is not correct”.