UK: Rwanda asylum plan: who does it target and is it going to happen? -The Guardian

Plans have surprised many, have few precedents and have been condemned as cruel and unworkable

Photo: The home secretary, Priti Patel, and Rwanda’s foreign minister, Vincent Biruta, signing the agreement in Kigali. Photograph: Muhizi Olivier/AP

Home affairs editor – Thu 14 Apr 2022. The GUARDIAN

Who does the government say could be sent to Rwanda?

Any adult who comes into the UK without authorisation – via train, boat or plane – could be considered for relocation to Rwanda.

There will be an assessment stage, where the strength of each individual’s asylum claim will be taken into account, officials said, as well as the way they arrived in the country.             

What are the criteria for those chosen to be sent to Rwanda?

UK officials say it is “the strength of their claim”, but details so far are scarce, partly because they do not want to tip off people coming to the UK. Rwanda has said it will only accept adults without a criminal record.

How many people will be removed?

Boris Johnson has said the agreement is “uncapped” and that Rwanda will have the “capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years ahead”. But officials believe it will take weeks, if not months, for the scheme to actually begin sending people to Rwanda.

Those seeking asylum from Rwanda are not expected to be sent back there, regardless of how they entered the UK.

Is there an appeals process?

Once someone is told they are going to be removed, they are given five days’ notice and are able to make representations during that period. Officials say most people in that period have access to legal advice. However, there is no statutory right to appeal.

For how long are those refugees the UK’s responsibility?

While in the UK, they are, officials say. But once placed on a plane, they would be the responsibility of the Rwandan government.

What happens once they arrive in Rwanda?

Migrants are subject to Rwandan immigration rules as soon as they land. The Rwandan government say they will be encouraged to apply for refugee status, and will have no immediate right to return to the UK.

Anyone the Rwandan authorities decide to deport – such as people who commit a crime – can be sent to the first “safe” country or their country of origin. Asylum seekers will stay in a hostel while their claims are processed. This is expected to take about three months. They will be allowed to move around freely and leave the property, Rwandan officials say.

How much will the scheme cost?

The taxpayer will foot the bill, including for the cost of chartering flights to remove detainees, but ministers are not saying how much the programme will cost. Britain has promised Rwanda an initial £120m as part of an “economic transformation and integration fund”, but the UK will be paying for operational costs too.

The Home Office said a set amount of funding will be provided for each relocated person. But it declined to say how much, other than to say it will be comparable to current processing costs in the UK and cover case workers, legal advice, translators, accommodation, food and healthcare.

The agreement struck with Rwanda also says the UK will resettle “a portion of Rwanda‘s most vulnerable refugees” in the UK.

Is this the first time Rwanda has signed a deal with a foreign government?

No, a similar agreement was signed with Israel that lasted from 2014 to 2017. Hundreds of detainees swiftly left the country. Reports claimed many returned to Europe. The Danish government has been in talks with the Rwandan government and held a series of high-profile meetings regarding returning migrants last summer.

Does Rwanda have its own human rights issues?

Yes. A Human Rights Watch report published last year found evidence that Rwandan authorities had arbitrarily detained over a dozen gay and transgender people ahead of a June 2021 conference, accusing them of “not representing Rwandan values”. According to the Foreign Office, homosexuality “remains frowned upon by many” and LGBTQ+ people can experience discrimination and abuse, including from local authorities.

Will the government’s plans be subject to a legal challenge?

Almost certainly. Senior counsels believe that plans to send those claiming asylum to offshore centres would breach three articles of the European convention on human rights and three of the articles of the refugee convention. It could also be challenged under discrimination legislation if, for example, Ukrainians are seen to be exempt.

Is this actually going to happen?

This is an idea that has been years in the making, as the numbers of people travelling to the UK by small boats has soared. It follows a series of other outlandish plans such as pushing back boats with wave machines – which have never happened. But the idea that the UK may send refugees in large numbers to Rwanda remains so outlandish that staff in the Home Office, Border Force guards and human rights lawyers are unsure whether it will actually ever happen.

However, it is certainly a distraction from Boris Johnson’s recent fine for breaking Covid rules, and is hugely popular among a cohort of backbench MPs who hold the fate of Johnson and Patel in their hands.


Home Office chief questions whether Rwanda plan will deter asylum seekers

VIDEO: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses country on sending illegal immigrants to Rwanda.

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  • Maureen Wickham uk  On 04/20/2022 at 1:13 pm

    Best news so far for the year.sendinf awful immigrant men to Rwanda . They are the ones that come to uk for crime ! Most of them are holed up in prison. The Romanians are the most racist bunch of the lot. You have to wait 12 hours at the hospital because it’s full of disgusting refugees who won’t speak English and are here to work for cash, get benefits and send their money to build abroad .of course to build their house . it’s cash so they don’t pay their taxes. Good riddance to the vermin !

    • Chris  On 04/20/2022 at 4:00 pm

      The Johnson Rwanda refugee expulsion saga is bizarre (to say the least) and is a clear red herring ostensibly aimed to distract from his personal problems in regards to his violations of Covid rules late last year.

      The odds of him being kicked out as PM are high!

      • Maureen Wickham uk  On 04/20/2022 at 4:13 pm

        Yes,.well it’s still costing the tax payer money to house these vermin in Rwanda . So Rwanda is not taking these people for free. It will be interesting project because they have never seen a black person before .help should be given to people who need it like the Afghans and women and children who are fleeing violence. we should not be taking single males who live about their age . The ones who have trafficked humans in this country are Romanians who have kept slaves in sheds . They are disgusting piece of crap .the women are as bad as the men .

      • Brother Man  On 04/20/2022 at 10:40 pm

        “ It will be (an) interesting project because they (Rwandans) have never seen a black person before …” says Maureen Wickham regarding sending illegal asylum seekers back to Rwanda.

        What makes you think that Rwandan s have never seen a Black person before?

      • Maureen Wickham uk  On 04/21/2022 at 1:07 am

        I am talking about the Eastern European s. What you think black people never see black people before ?

  • Miss Tottenham  On 04/21/2022 at 1:37 am

    I believe the removal policy to Rwanda is possibly the best option to the current misuse of the asylum system and will act as a deterrent over time.’ this is aimed at single men who come to the UK to murder and commit crime and run human trafficking.

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