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'Albania is not a safe country and we should give asylum to more claimants,' says former barrister

ALBANIA is not a safe country and we should give asylum to more migrants fleeing there a former immigration barrister has claimed.

David Neale said genuine asylum claims were being made by Albanians in connection with human trafficking and blood feuds.

The Legal Researcher at Garden Court Chambers was a practising immigration and asylum barrister from 2014 to 2017 and he now works to improve outcomes for Albanian asylum-seeking children and young people.

About 8,000 Albanian people claimed asylum in the UK in the year to the end of June 2022 and more than half (53 per cent) were granted.

More than 12,000 of the around 41,000 migrants who entered the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats this year were from Albania, it has emerged.

In a written submission to an ongoing Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into migration and asylum he said: "Albania is not a safe country. In my experience, most asylum claims made by Albanians concern human trafficking, blood feuds, or both.

"Trafficking occurs within Albania, from Albania to the UK or other European countries, and after arrival in the UK.

"Many people who have been trafficked are at risk of re-trafficking on return, and would not be adequately protected by the Albanian state."

He said women were at risk of sexual exploitation and me from forced labour and criminality.

He added: "The key factors to take into account include the social status and economic standing of their family, their

level of education, their state of health (particularly their mental health), the presence of an illegitimate child, their area of origin, their age, and the presence or absence of a support network.

Men and boys are also at risk due to their sexuality, he said.

He added: "Another major risk faced by many Albanian boys and men is blood feud. The true prevalence of blood feuds is not known; Albanian Government statistics cannot be relied upon to paint a complete picture, having regard to the code of silence practised by many Albanian families who conceal feuds from the authorities."

Although more than 50 per cent of Albanian asylum claims have been accepted by the Home Office, he suggested too many were rejected.

He said: "The general standard of Home Office decision-making is poor. As a result, many highly vulnerable asylum-seekers are refused asylum for spurious reasons.

"Home Office refusal letters are also often based on a faulty interpretation of the country evidence. For example, as mentioned above, the Home Office has repeatedly argued that there is now a sufficient level of state protection in Albania against blood feuds. This is not the case."

Essex news and Investigations asked the Home Office under the Freedom of Information Act to provide details of the grounds it was granting asylum to people from Albania, but it refused to provide them, saying there were so many claims and such data was not cololated, it was take too long and cost too much to provide it.

We have asked it to review this decision.


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