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UK government launches ad campaign to deter Albanian migrants

One of the advertisements, which are in English and Albanian, states that people will either be sent home or sent to what's described as a 'safe' third country, like Rwanda.
One of the advertisements, which are in English and Albanian, states that people will either be sent home or sent to what's described as a 'safe' third country, like Rwanda. Copyright Home Office via Storyful
Copyright Home Office via Storyful
By Scott Reid
Published on Updated
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The messages, which will run on social media, come as net migration in the UK rises.

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The UK government is to launch an advertising campaign which aims to deter Albanian nationals from crossing the English Channel. 

Posters issued by the Home Office, the government department which handles immigration, warn people face being "detained and removed". 

The department also promised to outline the "perils of the journey" in the campaign, which will run in Albanian on Facebook and Instagram. 

One poster claims people entering the country illicitly could be sent to a "safe third country", referring to the government's plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda.  

London claims the scheme will deter people from making the journey, though it has been slammed by critics as expensive, inhumane and illegal under international law.

The ads follow last week’s announcement of the UK-Albania Prison Transfer Agreement, through which Albanian citizens can be returned to their country to serve sentences for crimes committed in the UK.

In January, the Albanian government filed a protest note to the UK over remarks by Migration Minister Robert Jenrick about sending Albanians “back to Tirana”.

According to recent figures, Albania accounts for the highest number of people crossing the channel, at 12,301 in 2022.

The advertising campaign comes as UK net migration grew to 606,000 in 2022, 164,000 higher than in 2021. Of those numbers, about 114,000 arrivals to the UK were from Ukraine following the outbreak of war.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak believes the numbers are too high and he wants to bring them down. He has made tackling people coming across the English Channel in small boats one of his main pledges.

"We are determined to stop the boats and the campaign, launching in Albania this week, is just one component of the Home Office's work upstream to help dispel myths about illegal travel to the UK, explain the realities and combat the lies peddled by evil people smugglers who profit from this vile trade," said immigration minister Robert Jenrick. 

However, opposition party Labour condemned the campaign. 

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "It beggars belief that as Channel crossings continue to rise and the asylum system is in chaos, all the Conservatives can come up with to stop the criminal gangs is an ad campaign.

"At every turn, the Tories so-called solutions fail to meet the scale of the crisis. All they are doing is tinkering at the edges."

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been very publicly pushing for lower immigration. 

Writing in the Sun on Sunday newspaper, she said: "This government knows that in the years to come, we cannot simply rely on foreign workers to plug gaps.

"And Brexit means we can finally build a high-skill, high-wage economy liberated from Brussels red tape."

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Health Secretary Steve Barclay admitted that the "domestic supply" of nurses and doctors had to increase, but that the UK's health service would still rely on "international recruitment".

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