Fraser Nelson Fraser Nelson

Albanian small boat arrivals fall 99 per cent

(Photo: Getty)

With the return of Tory psychodrama and the leak of CCHQ lockdown party videos, Rishi Sunak needs something to go badly right for him. His best hope will be the Court of Appeal green-lighting his Rwanda deportation plan which he hopes will show major progress towards his pledge to ‘stop the boats’. The latest data on Albanian deportations, published on The Spectator data hub, will give him some reason for optimism.

Sunak’s rationale is that small boats are a symptom of a people smuggling industry run on an economic basis: people will fork out $15,000 to get to Britain because once you’re here there is little realistic chance of deportation. But if there’s a 20 per cent or a 30 per cent chance of deportation, and you can see people being sen to Rwanda amidst much uproar, how many would still pay the money? That’s the logic. You increase the risk, and ruin the rationale. It won’t be necessary to send thousands, just let the world know that Britain is a country that does deport anyone who arrives illegally. This chill factor, it’s hoped, should be immediate.

Albania is the test case. Last autumn, Albanians made up almost half of small boat arrivals and government officials calculated that about 2 per cent of all working-age Albanian men were in the UK claiming asylum. When Sunak became PM he started talks to deport Albanians; a deal was reached in December. It emerged the Q4 Albanian small boat arrivals had dropped to just over 1,000, down 88 per cent from Q3. Deportations have been continuing regularly and the latest figure, recently published, shows just 28 Albanian small-boat arrivals in Q1 (Jan-Mar): a drop of over 99 per cent.

The Court of Appeal heard the government’s case in April and its verdict is due soon.

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