Tirana's Ambassador to London Offers Albanians' Free Work' for UK to Tackle Fuel Crisis

Albania has said thousands of its migrants to the UK would be willing to work for nothing to help tackle the petrol crisis.

Albania’s ambassador to the UK, Qirjako Qirko, told the Guardian: “If your government would like, we can offer good reliable drivers, maybe 5,000 immediately.”

He claimed many of the estimated 150,000 Albanians living in the UK would work out of gratitude to their British hosts. As a significant number are believed to be undocumented, it is impossible to know how many are qualified HGV drivers.

But Qirko, who had just spent an hour queueing for petrol without success, said he believed many Albanians in Britain were truck drivers who could help make up a shortfall estimated at up to 100,000.

He said: “The Albanians are ready to work for the British government to overcome this problem free of charge. I don’t know if they have the right licences, but if they did I’m sure everyone here would say ‘I can help’.

Qirko cited the 1999 Nato intervention in Kosovo for saving hundreds of ethnic Albanians and said: “Albanians in the UK would work free of charge for this country because of what this country has done for them … We are grateful forever to the government, and to the army of this country, for what they did for our brothers in Kosovo.”

Qirko strongly denied reports on Sunday that Albania was negotiating a deal with the UK to receive migrants who cross the Channel in small boats. The Sun said officials were close to striking a deal on an overseas processing centre. Setting up such a centre for refugees is part of the new nationality and borders bill.

The Home Office did not confirm or deny the report. But Qirko said there had been no negotiations. / www.argumentum.al