Albanians in the United Kingdom

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Albanians in the United Kingdom
Shqiptarët në Mbretërien e Bashkuar
Total population
Regions with significant populations
London (Barking, Wood Green, Hounslow, Woolwich, Swiss Cottage, Camden), Birmingham, Oxford
English, Albanian
Irreligion, Islam (Sunni · Bektashi · Sufism), Atheism, Christianity, Orthodox Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Albanian diaspora

Albanians in the United Kingdom include immigrants from Albania and ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. The 2011 Census recorded 13,295 Albanian-born residents in England and 120 in Wales,[1] The censuses of Scotland and Northern Ireland recorded 196 and 55 Albanian-born residents respectively.[2][3] A mapping exercise published by the International Organization for Migration in September 2008 states that there are no official estimates of the total number of ethnic Albanians in the UK. The majority of respondents interviewed for the exercise estimated the population to lie between 70,000 and 100,000.[4] Many Albanians are reported to have moved to the UK by pretending to be Kosovans fleeing the Kosovo War.[5]

In June 2017, the National Crime Agency's annual report on organised crime warned that Albanian criminal gangs had "established a high-profile influence within UK organised crime", focusing mainly on the trafficking of cocaine to London. The report noted that "The threat faced from Albanian crime groups is significant. London is their primary hub, but they are established across the UK". It also noted that only 0.8% of organised criminals in the UK are Albanians, with British nationals accounting for 61.6% (23.5% are of unknown nationality). Albanian organised criminals display a readiness to use serious violence, which according to the National Crime Agency makes their impact more troubling, however.[6]

Albanians are amongst the largest groups of irregular immigrants in the UK, and Albanian children are the second largest group receiving help from Barnardo's child trafficking support teams.[6] In 2010, Albanians were not seen as a significantly at-risk group, but in 2015 Barnardo's estimated that Albanians accounted for a quarter of children allocated an advocate under its child trafficking support scheme. Some are forced to work, particularly on building sites, but the majority are exploited for criminal activities.[7]

Albanians seeking asylum in the UK regularly cite blood feuds as the reason that it is unsafe for them to return to Albania. The number of Albanian asylum applicants rose from 173 in 2008 to 1,809 in 2015. The vast majority of these applications are rejected.[5]


The history of Albanians in the UK began in the early 20th century, when a small group of Albanians arrived in this country. Among them was one of the greatest Albanian intellectuals, Faik Konica, who moved to London and continued to publish the magazine Albania (see Albania). Shortly after World War II, there were about 100 Albanians in Britain. Most of them were from Albania, while very few were from Kosovo.

The 1991 census shows that there were only 338 Albanians registered in England. In 1993, the figure had risen to 2,500. Most of them were young Kosovars who avoided recruiting into the Yugoslav Army, who had sought political asylum. In June 1996, a Supreme Court decision accepted that Kosovo Albanians were persecuted in the former Yugoslavia. This meant that all Kosovo Albanians should be granted residence permits in Britain. After this decision, Britain faced a huge and unexpected influx of Albanians from Kosovo, Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. By the end of 1997, around 30,000 Albanians lived in Britain.

Notable people[edit]


Arts and entertainment[edit]

  • Rita Ora - British singer, songwriter and actress. She rose to prominence in February 2012 when she featured on DJ Fresh's single "Hot Right Now", which reached number one in the UK
  • Dua Lipa - English singer and songwriter. After signing with Warner Music Group in 2015, she soon released her first single "New Love"
  • Noizy - Singer
  • Thomas Simaku - Albanian-British composer
  • Mariela Cingo - Pianist


  • Rudina Suti - Miss Albania in the UK and Miss Earth Albania for 2008


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2011 Census: QS213EW Country of birth (expanded), regions in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Country of Birth - Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Albania & Kosovo: Mapping exercise" (PDF). International Organization for Migration. September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-14. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b Doward, Jamie (4 June 2016). "The fear and feuds driving Albanians to the Kent coast". The Observer. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b Weaver, Matthew (29 June 2017). "Albanian gangs have significant control over UK cocaine market, says crime agency". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  7. ^ Doward, Jamie (17 October 2015). "Surge in Albanian child slaves trafficked to Britain". The Observer. Retrieved 30 June 2017.