More asylum seekers could now be sent to Rwanda, home secretary announces

May 15, 2024

Asylum seekers who have already had their claims rejected will now be part of the group being removed to Rwanda, the home secretary has announced.

James Cleverly said the UK has extended the deal it has made with Rwanda to now include those who have come to the UK illegally, claimed asylum and had their application rejected.

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Previously, only those deemed to have arrived illegally in the UK on or after 1 January 2022 and who had been informed their claim may be inadmissible - but had not been officially rejected - were in the group to be sent to the African country.

The plan had been that those asylum seekers would then have their asylum claims processed in Rwanda, where they would be allowed to stay if successful, or would have to seek asylum in another country.

Failed asylum seekers will be offered the same "package of support" for up to five years in Rwanda, including education, training, employment and accommodation help.

Mr Cleverly said: "Those who have no right to remain in the UK should not be allowed to stay.

"We have a safe third country ready and waiting to accept people, offer them support across the board and help rebuild their lives.

"We continue to swiftly detain those in line for removal to ensure we have a steady drumbeat of flights to Rwanda."

The Rwanda scheme was first announced by Boris Johnson in 2022 in an attempt to deter people from making dangerous small boat journeys across the Channel to reach the UK.

But the controversial policy has been plagued by delays, ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court, and attacked by both charities and opposition parties.

Rishi Sunak made the plan a key pledge of his leadership, passing new legislation aiming to allay the court's concerns and promising to get flights off the ground by July.

But his critics have continued to condemn the scheme, saying it could lead to the UK breaking international human rights law.

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