Will the Rwanda bill come into action?

Will the Rwanda bill come into action?

Already this year, there have been around 6000 people coming to the UK via small boat. There is roughly 75,000 people recorded who have travelled to the UK by small boat 2 years on from the bill’s announcement.

The Rwanda bill is trying to decrease the incentive for illegal immigrants to travel into the UK and therefore reduce the unsafe modes of transport people choose in their desperation for safety in a new country.

What does the Rwanda bill mean for Asylum seekers and is it safe?


When was the Rwanda bill announced?

The bill was first announced by former prime minister, Boris Johnson in 2022 which was known as the ‘Migration and Economic partnership’ or the ‘Rwanda plan’. The aim was to reduce the amount of people who travel to the UK illegally and on unsafe small boats.

The bill would mean that any asylum seekers who come into the UK without documentation will be sent on a one-way flight to Kigali. The government planned that with the possibility of being sent to a third country this would deter people from traveling to the UK.

The bill has not yet had any asylum seekers sent to Rwanda and there is still a wait for the Commons and Lords to pass the bill.

The Times found that the UK government have also approached Costa Rica, Armenia, Ivory Coast and Botswana to create similar deals.


The Cost

By the end of 2023, the UK government had paid Rwanda £240m and the total amount over 5 years is likely to reach £370m as predicted by the National Audit Office.

NAO report that up to £150,000 will be sent per person sent to Rwanda through this bill.

The cost of removing one person is around £63,000 more than keeping them in the UK.  As the cost of the Asylum seeker system in the UK is around £4bn per year including £8m for hotel accommodation for people.

This raises the question of why they would stick to this plan when the cost is so great? One argument from Rishi Sunak was stated as the cost to the UK taxpayer for each Asylum seeker.


Is Rwanda safe?

This bill means that the UK Government have declared Rwanda a safe country and allowing people to be sent there with nothing to go to.

The Law Society expresses their concern over the safety of the country and long-term safety as these people will have no way, at least no legal way to exit the country once again if they found it unsafe.

The Rwanda deal could lead to more unsafe territory for these people in a place where they have few options.


Rishi Sunak pushing to begin

Rishi Sunak has expressed his eagerness to begin the scheme and for a decision to be made. He stated that in 10-12 weeks flights will start taking off transporting migrants to Rwanda.

It was announced that they have found 350 people whom have the weakest legal challenges and would be likely to be placed on a flight to Rwanda.

Several lawyers have stated their plan to fight for individuals case-by-case to get them taken off the flights which must be done 8 days after the individual receives their deportation letter.

The case to be made will be that the individual will face harm if they were to be sent to Rwanda and they personally will not be safe there.

Updated 22/4/23

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