One in three of migrants crossing English Channel in small boats is Albanian and on some days they are four out of five, new Home Office figures show as total numbers receiving taxpayer-funded support tops 100,000 for the first time

  • Albanians accounted for over a third of people in Channel crossings this year
  • On some days in recent months, the figure has been as high as 80 per cent  
  • This is a steep increase from three per cent in 2021 and one per cent in 2020
  • Number of migrants entering UK dried up in November due to poor weather

The number of asylum seekers receiving taxpayer-funded support has topped 100,000 for the first time.

Home Office data showed 100,547 were getting Government aid at the end of September – up from less than 69,000 a year earlier.

Most receive free accommodation and a subsistence allowance of £40.85 a week for each person in their household, unless they get meals provided by the taxpayer.

Figures also showed the number of new asylum applications rose to 72,027, covering 85,902 people when dependants such as children and spouses are included.

The total, driven by small boat arrivals from northern France, was nearly double the previous year’s total and the highest since 2003.

Meanwhile, the Home Office’s asylum backlog has soared by more than 21,000 in three months to 148,533.

Of those, 143,377 cases were awaiting an initial decision, and more than 5,000 were ‘pending review’.

Albanians accounted for just over a third of people detected crossing the English Channel in small boats in the first nine months of the year, new figures have shown

Three years earlier the overall total stood at just 48,000.

Albanians accounted for just over a third of people detected crossing the English Channel in small boats in the first nine months of the year, new figures have shown.

They also made up nearly half of those detected in July to September.

It is a sharp increase on previous years, with only 3% of arrivals in 2021 being of Albanian nationality, and just 1% in 2020.

The figures, which have been published by the Home Office, show there were 33,029 small boat arrivals in the UK from January to September this year.

Of this total, 11,241 (35%) were Albanian nationals.

Almost all of these have arrived since May.

It is a sharp increase on previous years, with only 3% of arrivals in 2021 being of Albanian nationality, and just 1% in 2020

In the three months from July to September, 45% of small boat arrivals were Albanian (9,076) and on some days the figure was as high as 80%.

A greater mix of nationalities have been detected making the crossing in recent years, the Home Office said.

Iranians accounted for the majority of arrivals in both 2018 (80%) and 2019 (66%).

But since 2020 arrivals from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea have become more common while the number of Albanians has “increased substantially” this year.

The new figures also show that of the 35,345 small boat arrivals between October 1 2021 and August 31 2022, 31,891 have claimed asylum in the UK – of which only 139 (2%) have received an initial decision.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: “The growing backlog means that people in the asylum system are stuck in limbo for long periods.

“There is evidence that these waiting times hurt the long-term integration prospects of those who receive refugee status.

“Meanwhile, people with pending asylum claims cannot work and so need to be provided with accommodation so they are not made homeless.

“The result is that the backlog also puts pressure on the availability of accommodation and pushes up the cost of the asylum system.”

The official figure of 33,029 small boat crossings from January to September, together with separate figures showing 9,125 crossings since October 1, means the provisional total for the year to date currently stands at 42,154.

This compares with 28,526 crossings for the whole of 2021.

Earlier this week MPs accused Home Office staff of ‘rank incompetence’ after it emerged each caseworker resolves just one asylum application a week.

The Home Office wants to increase their productivity – but only to three cases a week by May next year – and will start paying the civil servants bonuses of up to £2,500 to stop them quitting.

Yesterday’s THU new figures showed 77 per cent of asylum applications which are decided by the Home Office lead to refugee status or another type of humanitarian protection being granted.

Among some nationalities – including Afghans, Syrians and Eritreans – the grant rate is 98 per cent.

But for Albanian men – such as those coming across the Channel in small boats – the grant rate is just 10 per cent.

Across all Albanians, including women and children, the figure is higher, with just over half being granted asylum or other types of protection.

It is understood 87 per cent of Channel migrants are male. The majority of arrivals go on to claim asylum.

It emerged this week that 40,000 asylum seekers – most of whom arrived across the Channel – are now being housed in taxpayer-funded hotels.

In addition, there are more than 9,000 Afghans still in hotels more than 15 months after they were evacuated from their country as the Taliban seized control.

The asylum figures came on the first anniversary of the tragedy in the Channel which saw 27 men, women and children drown when their dinghy capsized.

Law Society deputy vice president Richard Atkinson said: ‘Far too many people are waiting far too long for a decision on their request for sanctuary in the UK.

‘There is no doubt the Home Office is under pressure, and it must be properly resourced to ensure lawful, timely decision-making.’

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