LONDON – Britain will send male asylum seekers trying to cross the English Channel to Rwanda for processing after striking a £120million deal with the Rwandan government for a trial scheme.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel will sign the agreement this afternoon during a visit to Rwanda’s capital Kigali after nine months of negotiations and several failed attempts to reach similar deals with other countries and offshore territories.
Male asylum seekers, deemed likely economic migrants by the Home Office, would be flown to the Commonwealth country and held in a facility until their application is processed, while the rest of the asylum seekers would remain in stricter Greek-style centers in Britain until then about theirs The Ministry of the Interior decides on applications. The first of these centers is expected to open in Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the deal in a speech in Kent on Thursday, in which he argued that the UK “cannot sustain a parallel immigration system” along with its points-based post-Brexit system because it puts unsustainable pressure on UK taxpayers generated and unfair is those who wish to settle in the UK through ‘safe and legal means’.
“As of today, our new migration and economic partnership means that anyone entering the UK illegally, as well as those who have entered the UK illegally since January 1, can now be relocated to Rwanda,” he said.
“This innovative approach, fueled by our shared humanitarian drive and enabled by the Brexit freedoms, will provide safe and legal avenues of asylum while disrupting the gangs’ business model, as it means economic migrants using the asylum system are not in the country UNITED KINGDOM”
According to Home Office statistics, about 90 per cent of the 28,526 migrants who crossed the Channel to Britain in small boats last year were men, the majority of whom are thought to be single. Officials say single men trying to get to the UK this route are more likely to be economic migrants.
The Home Office’s goal is to prevent arrivals, which peaked at around 600 a day, which Johnson said could reach 1,000, by making that route unprofitable and unattractive, and to insist that asylum seekers in the first safe country they enter should seek protection. That would mean that most of them would have to stay in continental Europe.
Rwanda will have the capacity to relocate tens of thousands of people over the coming years under the deal, which is “unlimited,” Johnson said.
He also confirmed controversial plans for the Royal Navy to take over patrol in the Channel “with the aim of ensuring that no boat enters Britain undetected” and pledged to end hotel accommodation for asylum seekers, who he says are paying £5million a day costs .
The policy previously announced new asylum and immigration laws completes its passage through the UK Parliament reflects Australia’s offloading of asylum applications to an island 3,000 miles away. The British government believes this approach has helped Australia cope with the flows of undocumented migrants – although the Australian system has been criticized as inhumane. Denmark, which has also held offshoring talks with Kigali, signed a memorandum of understanding on future cooperation with Rwanda in April but has yet to finalize an asylum deal.
In exchange for taking asylum seekers and processing their applications, the UK would pay Rwanda around £120million, but it is believed that this is an initial number “which will change depending on the situation [on] how well the program has worked,” Welsh Minister Simon Hart told Sky News.
Labour’s shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper questioned the viability of the policy, calling it “blackmailing” and “unethical”. She argued that relocating 3,127 people under the Australian system cost Australian taxpayers AUD 10 billion – or £1.7 million per person, much more than the £12,000 the Home Office spends processing an asylum seeker in the UK
“That would make offshore processing a hundred times more expensive,” she tweeted. “And would mean the cost to the UK taxpayer of sending people to Rwanda would be billions. Where does the money come from?
Immigration lawyer Christopher Desira said the policy raises many questions, starting with whether the UK government will provide legal aid to lawyers trying to do their job in Rwanda, what protections are in place for the welfare of migrants and whether people will be protected from the regime by Paul Kagame, who have been in power since 2000, would also be sent back to the same country they fled from.
“Some countries that are doing this are spending an exorbitant amount of money on it, with very few positive results,” he said. “Other countries that have said they want to do that still haven’t figured out how to do it.”
Acknowledging that the system “won’t come into force overnight,” Johnson pledged to “do whatever is necessary to implement this new approach, initially within the confines of the existing legal and constitutional framework, but also ready to expand any other possible legal framework.” reforms need to be examined.”
Describing the Rwanda deal as an “indispensable part” of Britain’s solution, the prime minister said Britain was “confident” the plan was “fully compliant” with its international obligations but said he expected it to be challenged in court. The UN refugee agency has expressed doubts about Britain’s asylum reform and whether it complies with the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Describing Rwanda as “one of the safest countries in the world, recognized globally for its reception and integration of migrants,” Johnson called on the opposition to come up with better policies to stop Channel crossings, arguing he was adamant that there is no other option.
Britain will continue to push for a repatriation deal with the EU and France, he said, but noted Britain must have its own framework to halt crossings now and avoid further deaths in the Channel “while it waits for an agreement that just doesn’t exist.”
The announcement, made during parliamentary recess during MPs’ absence and amid a new Partygate controversy over the prime minister, has drawn criticism from several Conservatives and NGOs working with refugees.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who has called for a vote of confidence on Johnson, told the BBC the announcement was a “massive distraction” from the Prime Minister’s fine for partying at Downing Street during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-seals-deal-with-rwanda-to-offshore-asylum-migrant-seekers/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication British seals trade Rwanda to offshore asylum seekers - POLITICO