10,000 adult men from Albania alone have illegally reached UK by boat this year
Around 10,000 single adult men from Albania have illegally travelled to the UK by small boat so far this year, the Home Office have confirmed - as a top general is appointed to tackle the problem.
Dan O'Mahoney, Border Force clandestine threat commander, said 12,000 Albanians have crossed the Channel by small boat since the start of this year, 10,000 of whom were 'single adult males'.
He said this was equivalent to roughly one to two per cent of the young male population of the country - a category that is understood to include men aged 20 to 40.
Two years ago, 50 Albanians arrived in the UK on small boats, last year it was 800 and this year, so far, it's been 12,000 - of which about 10,000 are single adult men,' he told the Home Affairs Select Committee.
'So the rise has been exponential, and we think that is in the main because Albanian criminal gangs have gained a foothold in the north of France and have begun facilitating large numbers of migrants.
'Just to put this into context, that number of 10,000 is between one and two percent of the entire adult male population of Albania who have travelled to the UK in small boats.'
Mr O'Mahoney said only a low proportion of Albanian men who made asylum claims were successful.
'Some of them will of course need our help and will make legitimate asylum claims but the grant rate for single Albanian men - about 12 per cent,' he said.
'A lot of them are not actually interested in seeing their asylum claim through. We'll typically put them in a hotel for a couple of days then they'll disappear and work illegally in the UK for six months, possibly a year then go back to Albania.'
The officer warned there was a 'huge amount of very harmful serious and organised criminality' being committed in the UK by organised Albanian gangs.
Lt General Stuart Skeates, who also served in the Bosnian war, has been hired as a special coordinator on illegal Albanian migration, the Telegraph reported.
He was previously working as an advisor to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, preventing vulnerable people being 'exploited by human traffickers' and 'protecting UK’s Borders'.
Now Lt General Skeates has been recruited to tackle the growing problem of Albanian Channel crossings. Since the start of the year more than 37,000 migrants have reached British soil - at least 12,000 are believed to be from the Balkan state.
Former Home Secretary Priti Patel Patel signed a deal with the Albanian government to fast-track deportations back to the Balkan state and for Albanian police officers to be stationed in Dover.
Earlier this month, a reported 12 migrants were put on a plane to Albania within days of arriving in Britain in small boats.