Up to 2% of Albanian male population has travelled to UK in small boats, official says – Yahoo News UK

Up to 2% of the adult male population of Albania has crossed to the UK in small boats, according to the government's clandestine channel threat commander.
Dan O'Mahoney revealed the staggering figure to MPs on the home affairs committee on Wednesday, saying 12,000 Albanian nationals had crossed the Channel in small boats in this year alone.
More than 38,000 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in more than 900 boats in 2022 to date, compared with 28,526 last year.
Earlier this year, former home secretary Priti Patel claimed that around 60% of people arriving in the UK on small boats this summer were Albanian.
However, fact-checking charity Full Fact found that data to back this claim up was not available, though they concluded the figure was correct for certain days during the summer.
MPs also heard that 93% of the 38,000 who arrived on small boats in 2022 so far have applied for asylum in the UK – down from the total figure of 98% in 2021.
However, there are currently huge delays in processing applications, with the Home Office only processing 4% of asylum claims by people who crossed the Channel in 2021 so far.
Of the 4% completed, 85% were granted refugee status or another protection status.
Dan Hobbs, director of asylum, protection and enforcement at the Home Office, said there is a “challenge in processing asylum claims in a timely way at present”.
The delay has had a knock-on effect in terms of the cost to taxpayers, with £5.6m being spent every day to house asylum seekers in hotels.
This figure does not include the cost to house relocated Afghans in hotels, which costs an additional £1.2m per day.
The total £6.8m a day figure on housing asylum seekers in hotels – over £2m more than the government said it was spending in February – could continue to rise, MPs at the committee were told.
Watch: Channel crossings continue as more migrants arrive in Kent
Officials also revealed the interception rate made by French police of migrants attempting the journey across the Channel has fallen.
O’Mahoney told the committee in 2021 the interception rate for French police stopping migrants trying to cross the Channel was 50% and this year it has dropped to 42.5%.
He accepted this was a lower percentage but stressed it was a “much, much bigger number”, telling how French authorities had stopped 28,000 migrants crossing the Channel and intercepted and destroyed 1,072 boats so far this year.
He added: “It is correct to say that migrants can attempt to cross on more than one occasion and therefore those 28,000 migrants may not be individual, different migrants, so it’s 28,000 attempts.”
In France migrants are not detained and processed after being caught attempting to cross the Channel. Mr O’Mahoney said French laws make it “difficult for French officers to take any action in that way”.
Concerns were also raised about conditions at the Manston Airport site in Kent, which is meant to be a short-term holding facility to process migrants when they arrive in the UK.
MPs heard the number of people arriving was “outstripping” the capacity of the site and some were being held there for as long as a month, compared with the 24 hours intended.
The total cost of the UK’s asylum system has topped £2bn a year, with the highest number of claims for two decades and record delays for people awaiting a decision.
Home Office spending on asylum rose by £756m, from around £1.4bn in 2020/21 to £2.1bn in 2021/22 – the highest on record and more than double the amount spent in 2019/20, with officials struggling to keep up with the number of new applications.
More than 38,000 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in more than 900 boats in 2022 to date, compared with 28,526 last year.
In October alone, at least 5,000 have made the journey, according to provisional government figures, but no crossings were recorded by the Ministry of Defence on Monday or Tuesday.
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