UK plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

The policy of the United Kingdom to deport a number of asylum applicants to Rwanda has encountered a succession of legal obstacles.

The UK Supreme Court is scheduled to render its decision on Wednesday regarding the legality of the plan. Those who failed the five-year trial, which was declared in April 2022, would be deported to Rwanda in order to pursue asylum there.

They might be awarded refugee status in Rwanda in accordance with the plan. If not, they might seek asylum in another "safe third country" or submit an application to reside there on alternative grounds. In reality, no asylum applicant has been transferred to Rwanda.

The initial voyage, which was slated to depart in June 2022, was cancelled due to legal disputes.

The government asserts that the policy will dissuade individuals from entering the United Kingdom via "illegal, hazardous, or unnecessary means," such as small boats traversing the English Channel.

In 2022, this route was traversed by over 45,700 individuals en route to the United Kingdom, the highest number since records began.

The number of small boat crossings in 2023 was one-third lower as of November 12 compared to the same date in the previous year. However, it is impossible to determine whether this decline is due to government migration policies.

 Stephen Kinnock, the shadow minister for immigration, stated in October that the weather contributed to the decline in numbers, stating that the summer of 2023 was the wettest since 1912.

The UK Supreme Court commenced its deliberations on the Rwanda scheme in October; a verdict is anticipated on Wednesday.

The matter was appealed to the UK Supreme Court by the government subsequent to the Court of Appeal's reversal of a prior High Court decision affirming the legality of the Rwanda plan.

The Court of Appeal judges rendered a verdict that the east African nation posed a threat to security due to the potential repatriation of certain claimants to their countries of origin, where they might encounter persecution.

The Rwanda policy is also in violation of a provision of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that forbids torture and inhuman treatment, according to the ruling.

Previously, the government stated that anyone unlawfully entering the United Kingdom after January 1, 2022 could be deported in an unlimited number.

The agreement also permits Rwanda to request that the United Kingdom accept some of its most vulnerable refugees.

The United Kingdom has paid the government of Rwanda £140 million to date, but has not disclosed the total amount.

According to an economic impact assessment conducted in support of the Illegal Migration Bill proposed by the government, the cost of repatriating each individual to a third country, such as Rwanda, would be £63,000 greater than the cost of maintaining them in the United Kingdom.

This amount represents the disparity between the projected total expenditure of £169,000 for an individual's removal from the United Kingdom and the £106,000 allocated for housing support should they choose to remain.

The total of £169,000 comprises a payment of approximately £105,000 per individual to the third country, in addition to £22,000 for airfare.

No expense would be incurred, according to the Home Office, if the policy deters an individual from unlawfully entering the United Kingdom.