The Daily Telegraph
Rwanda deportation plan has ‘funding for three years’
THE UK is committed to funding the removal of migrants to Rwanda for a minimum of three years at a potential cost of tens of millions of pounds, it emerged yesterday.
The Home Office revealed new details of the agreement with Rwanda as it faced a landmark High Court case challenging the legality of deporting migrants to claim asylum in the central African state. The Home Office has pledged to pay the same £12,000 per asylum seeker to the Rwandans as it costs to process claimants in the UK. It said the funding – which could extend to five years for refugees who resettle in Rwanda – provided a “financial incentive” for Rwanda to look after the migrants without the risk of them being forcibly returned to other countries.
It set out details of the payments to counter claims by the charities, unions and asylum seekers bringing the legal challenge that Rwanda could refuse to accept or prematurely remove migrants deported from the UK. In its skeleton argument, the Home Office funding had been provided “in respect of each relocated individual for a minimum of three years (five years for anyone granted refugee status if they stay in Rwanda)”.
Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, and Priti Patel, who resigned as home secretary yesterday, have been accused of acting unlawfully after overruling officials at least seven times to push ahead with the Rwanda policy, according to the documents filed by the charities Detention Action and Care4calais, the PCS union representing Border Force staff and migrants.
Foreign Office officials kept the central African state off lists of potential recipient countries for up to 10 months because they claimed asylum seekers would face “a real risk of violations of international human rights law” until Rwanda was finally “prioritised for engagement” in July last year.
The five-day court hearing came as it was revealed 1,160 migrants in 25 boats crossed the Channel on Sunday. It is the second time it has breached 1,000 in a day this year and takes the total to 27,415, double the number of 2021.
Yesterday’s documents showed ministers started to consider Rwanda for a “migration partnership” in Sept 2020. It progressed despite what the charities claim was “repeated advice” from officials that it was not “suitable” due to human rights concerns.
In June last year, the Foreign Office was told Mr Johnson was “frustrated at the rate of progress” on an asylum processing deal with a foreign country, and shared a “particular interest in Rwanda” with Ms Patel and the immigration minister. Mr Raab, then Foreign Secretary, authorised diplomatic staff to make contact with Rwanda’s government on a deal, which was signed in April.