'Not all Albanians are criminals!': British-Albanian reacts to Tories plan to ban Albanian migrants

29 November 2022, 16:14 | Updated: 30 November 2022, 17:09

Nick Ferrari speaks with British-Albanian woman on new Tory plans

Melissa Fleur Afshar

By Melissa Fleur Afshar

As a group of Tory MPs race to block Albanian asylum seekers from entering the UK, a British-Albanian woman has told LBC that she still experiences racist abuse in Britain.

The British-Albanian woman, named Vera, revealed that even though she had arrived in the UK in 1998 and became a British citizen through “legal means”, she still suffers racist abuse in Britain.

“I came [to the UK] 25 years ago, and believe me, after 25 years [in the UK] I still get shouted at on the motorway to go back to my own country,” said Vera.

“[And I think to myself] where do I go? I came here when I was 19 years old."

Vera’s comments come in response to a new Tory plan - which has garnered the support of more than 50 prominent Conservative MPs - to immediately return Albanian asylum seekers to Albania, even those who claim to have been trafficked.

The plan had been jotted down on a letter and addressed to Rishi Sunak.

The new proposal on the handling of asylum seekers has been headed by former cabinet minister David Davis, known for his two-year-long stint as Brexit Secretary.

It's been reported that David Davis and the group of Tory MPs urged the Prime Minister to pass an emergency piece of legislation that would mark Albania a ‘safe’ country.

Marking Albania as 'safe grounds' would provide the government with a basis for which they could refuse entry to Albanian asylum seekers.

The proposed legislation featured a list of countries, Albania included and brought to the forefront by the press, which could be deemed as 'safe'.

The MPs championing the plan believe it could relieve the current pressure on asylum backlogs, and reduce asylum rates by deterring migrants from making the dangerous crossing across the Channel into UK territory.

“Anyone who has the guts to cross the Channel has, in my opinion, more or less nothing to lose because that is something between life and death,” said Vera.

READ MORE: Shocking image shows migrants who risked lives spending 11 days perched on rudder of oil tanker

Migration continues to be a hot topic in the UK, as figures have recently risen to a record high of 504,000 for 2022 alone.

The recent rise could be attributed to refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan being granted asylum in Britain due to political events, and to Hong Kong's 'British National Overseas' status holders and other migrants from Hong Kong moving to the UK after a new visa programme was unveiled in January 2021.

While many asylum seekers have been offered safe and legal passage to the UK, the story is far from over, as migrants from a long list of other nations are still attempting to reach the UK through menacing off-the-radar routes.

As seen in MP Tim Loughton's recent cross-examination of the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, for the average asylum seeker, the chances of being granted "safe and legal" entry into the UK are slim.

READ MORE: Migrants and asylum seekers to blame, says Suella Braverman as she admits govt has lost control of Britain's borders

Addressing the complex situation on LBC, Vera said: "In this country, the [immigration] system is just completely broken."

In fact, for Vera the system has been quite broken for some time, a detail that she made clear as she spoke of Albanian friends who "never got their asylum approved while their parents' died, people got married, and they never left the country."

In her exchange with Nick Ferrari on the Tory MPs' new immigration proposal, Vera decided to open up about her experience as an Albanian in the UK.

She spoke out about her heartbreak at still being told to "go back to her own country", years after she and her family had found a new home in the UK.

When questioned by Nick on what she makes of the proposed legislation, and whether Albania can be deemed 'safe', Vera responded:

"Well Albania is and is not a safe country, but it is a safe country because there is no war going on. Despite lots of [violence] happening every day, it is not Ukraine."

“Not all Albanians are criminals," insisted Vera, aware of the rhetoric towards Albanian migrants.

READ MORE: Suella Braverman 'refused hotel bookings for migrants because they were in Tory areas'

The proposed legislation has received an onslaught of backlash since its unveiling, particularly from refugee rights organisations and charities, who argue that the hypothetical law would breach the UN refugee convention and compromise the safety of vulnerable people.

Braverman had pledged to lower net migration during her first stint as Home Secretary, under Liz Truss' 7-week-long premiership.

The Home Secretary recently came under fire after an outbreak of diphtheria was reported at the notoriously overcrowded, Manston Asylum Centre, in Kent. Braverman had stated that she was 'partly responsible' for the overcrowding, as she was hesitant to disperse migrants across the nation before securing their long-term accommodation.

News of the Tory plan and its subsequent backlash had coincided with Albania's 'independence day' celebrations.