UK Rwanda Deportation Plan “Dead and Buried”

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UK Rwanda Deportation Plan “Dead and Buried”

Campbell M
Rwanda Deportation Plan “Dead and Buried”

On 06 Jul 2024, the new Labour Government announced that the controversial plan to fly asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda had been scrapped...

PM Boris Johnson (Conservative) first announced the plan in 2022. Under the plan, those arriving in the UK via irregular routes such as channel crossings would be permanently deported to Rwanda.

However, no one has ever been sent to Rwanda because of legal challenges.

PM Kier Starmer said, "The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It's never been a deterrent, and I'm not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don't act as a deterrent."

In Nov 2023, the UK Supreme Court declared the Rwanda Plan “unlawful” and “Rwanda could not be considered a safe third country”. This resulted in ministers signing a new treaty with Rwanda and pushing new legislation through to circumvent this.

The British government has already paid the Rwandan government hundreds of millions to set up accommodation and hire extra officials to process asylum seekers. This has cost taxpayers more than £500m and is money that cannot be recovered.

Starmer said that his government would create a Border Security Command that would join staff from the police, the domestic intelligence agency, and prosecutors to work with international agencies to stop people trafficking.

Currently, Britain is spending £8m a day, or more than £3bn a year, housing asylum seekers in hotels. The Home Office said, “Doing nothing is not without significant costs. Unless we act, the cost of housing asylum seekers is set to reach £11bn per year by 2026.”

In a March 2024 revelation branded a “national scandal” by Labour, the public spending watchdog said the scheme would cost £576.8m if just 300 asylum seekers were sent to Rwanda.

It would represent £1.92m per person sent to Rwanda, accounting for just 1% of the UK’s asylum seekers.

In 2022, the UK government entered the Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) with Rwanda. Consequently, those who entered the UK illegally would be relocated there permanently.

Rwanda would process the asylum claim, and the person would remain in Rwanda if the claim were successful. If the claim was unsuccessful, the person could voluntarily leave Rwanda or receive another residence status.

Payments to Rwanda

The MEDP agreement included 1) fixed payments into an Economic Transformation and Integration Fund (ETIF) to support economic growth in Rwanda and 2) payments to cover all operational costs incurred.

The National Audit Office confirms £290m has already been paid to Rwanda, which was comprised of large payments into the ETIF in April 2022 (c.£90m), April 2023 (c.£90m), and April 2024 (c.£90m), plus a one-off £20m paid in April 2022 as an advance on operational costs.

Thus, £290m has been paid out. However, no asylum seekers have been relocated under the scheme. The Home Office has refused to say how much more money, on top of the £290m already confirmed, the UK has agreed to pay Rwanda under the now stalled plan.

However, two further fixed payments of £50m each will be made in April 2025 and April 2026, irrespective of whether any deportations are achieved, bringing the future total to £390m.

Had removals gotten underway, the UK would have covered the costs of asylum processing and a five-year integration package (including food and accommodation). Consequently, the UK had agreed to pay a fixed fee of £20,000 per relocated individual and £150,874 per individual to cover the costs during the five-year integration period.

Additionally, if a migrant decides to leave, Britain will halt payments for that person but will still give Rwanda a one-off £10,000 to help facilitate their departure.

Once 300 people had been relocated, an additional payment of £120m would be due.

Costs Incurred in the UK

By February 2024, The Home Office had already incurred costs of £20 million, and a future £1m a year in staff costs and £12.6m for training (including using force during deportations) would be incurred. Additionally, there would be costs related to detention awaiting removal, flights, and the Home Office’s escort costs.

As such, the plan would cost more than £600 million for only 300 deportations to Rwanda – this works out at c.£2m per asylum seeker.

Not surprisingly, 84% of the UK public saw the scheme as lousy value for money and the whole plan as a milestone in government stupidity...

Source: Archives

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