LONDON/TIRANA - Our team reported on the field in Albania, traveling to the cities of Tirana, Kukes, Elbasan and meeting young people who had recently been forcibly returned from the UK after arriving in small boats across the English Channel from Calais, France.

We looked at the reasons many Albanian nationals, including minors and young adults, are fleeing their country in search of a better life, and why they are willing to take such huge risks to get to the UK.

The UK has promised to begin “fast-tracking” the returns of Albanian nationals who arrive in small boats. We were the first journalists to find people returned under this new pilot scheme, which was announced in August 2022, and get expert comment from lawyers and NGOs on how this scheme is being run. We gathered worrying testimony about the prison-like conditions inside Manston refugee centre and found some Albanians have been forcibly returned via charter flight without any access to legal help.

Photo ©SOAS Detainee Support

Team members

Jessica Bateman

Jessica Bateman is a British freelance journalist covering social and human rights issues around Europe.

Jessica Bateman

Elisa Perrigueur

Elisa Perrigueur is a journalist based in the Balkans.

Elisa Perrigueur

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