Almost four in 10 Channel migrants are from Albania, where there has not been a conflict for a quarter of a century, a military intelligence report reveals.
The document, marked “official sensitive”, shows that almost three times as many migrants arriving in the UK from France came from Albania than any other nation.
The report, seen by the Mail on Sunday, reveals that of the 2,863 migrants transported by nine separate people-smuggling gangs between June 1 and July 12, 1,075 – or 37.5 per cent – were Albanian.
Although Albanians face economic hardship in their homeland, particularly in the north, it has been a largely peaceful country since a civil war in 1997 in which more than 2,000 people died.
The total number of migrants from Albania was far higher than from other nations. Iranians made up the next highest number, with 373 migrants, or 13 per cent of the total.
There were 363 migrants from Afghanistan (12.7 per cent), 217 from Iraq (7.6 per cent), 162 from Syria (5.7 per cent) and 163 from Eritrea (5.7 per cent).
Arriving ‘on an economic migration ticket’
Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, said the report proved people were arriving “on an economic migration ticket” and abusing the asylum system.
He added: “This is absolutely clear evidence – in the face of all those on the liberal Left who cry for us to let anyone in – that this is an economic issue and, as such, it is desperate that we get on with the Rwanda programme.”
At least 28,526 people crossed the Channel in small boats last year. Last Monday, 696 migrants arrived – a record daily figure for this year.
Richard Tice, the leader of Reform UK, which obtained the leaked report, said: “If these people are not genuinely fleeing for their lives, then it is not up to the British taxpayer to support them.”
A Government spokesman said: “People should always claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, rather than risk their lives and line the pockets of ruthless criminal gangs in order to cross the Channel.”