Albanian police deployed at UK port for biometric migrant identification
Albanian police forces will be deployed at the Dover port in the UK to help identify and deport illegal Channel migrants.
The move comes as part of a crackdown on the surge in arrivals from the Balkan state and will see the capture of migrants’ biometric data, including fingerprints, to cross-reference it with Albanian criminal databases.
According to an analysis by the Telegraph, Albanians now account for between 50 and 60 percent of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats. This prompted a meeting this week between UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and her Albanian counterpart to agree to terms for the placement of Albanian police at Dover. The move is expected to speed up removals, with flights returning migrants within weeks of their arrival.
“This access would help us immensely, assuming there are no data protection or legal issues [preventing] the Albanian police from receiving biographic and biometric data captured by UK Border Force under UK law to check against their own records,” a Border Force source told the Telegraph.
The same individual, however, also called for caution in regard to the sharing of migrants’ biometric data.
“There may be a risk in sharing information about asylum seekers with the government of the country they are claiming to fear persecution from — at least before the claim is assessed.”
For context, any migrant who has served more than a year in jail can be removed from the UK under post-Brexit laws. The Government can also legally refuse entry in cases of ‘serious harm, persistent offending or where it is conducive to the public good.’
Commenting on the news, a Home Office spokesperson said that while the UK is open to asylum claims, these have to be filed properly and with respect to the country’s laws.
“Asylum claims may be inadmissible if someone travels through a safe third country before reaching the UK.”
The news comes months after the Chief Executive of the Port of Dover called for talks between the UK and the EU over plans for biometric checks at the port.
More recently, a report by David Neal, the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI), suggested the Home Office failed to collect fingerprints or face biometrics from asylum seekers and illegal migrants who then absconded in their hundreds.