Failed asylum seekers detained for removal to Rwanda

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Home Secretary James Cleverly. Picture by Ravi Soodi / Home Office. CC BY 2.0 DEED

Failed asylum seekers are now in scope for enforced removal to Rwanda, after a deal to extend the cohort was agreed between the UK and Rwanda.

It is the latest stage in a major operation across all four nations of the country to detain and remove illegal migrants from the UK. 

Those with no right to be in the UK, who have had an earlier protection or human rights claim refused or withdrawn and are unable to appeal their decision, can now expect to be removed to Rwanda.   

This will ensure that more people who have no right to be in the UK can be supported to rebuild their lives in Rwanda, a safe third country, when they could not have been returned to other countries such as Syria or Afghanistan. 

Failed asylum seekers will be offered the same package of support for up to 5 years under the Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP). This includes support for education, training, employment and accommodation.   

Previously, those who arrived in the UK on or after 1 January 2022 and who received a notice of intent, which informed them that their asylum claim may be considered inadmissible, prior to 29 June 2023, were being considered for removal. 

More people beyond this cohort with no right to remain in the UK are now eligible to be relocated swiftly.   

Home Secretary James 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 UK government already offers failed asylum seekers voluntary returns to their home country or a safe third country, like Rwanda. Failed asylum seekers who do not leave the UK voluntarily will be in line for detention and enforced removal to a safe third country under the new agreement.  

Failed asylum seekers removed to Rwanda will not enter Rwanda as asylum seekers, but will be offered a full package of support, equal to that provided under the MEDP, and will be entitled to residency in Rwanda to help rebuild their lives. 

Immigration Enforcement have worked with local police forces when teams have faced disruption and criminal behaviour from people trying to obstruct detention activity. 

The cohort currently being detained have been served a notice for removal to Rwanda and can be removed through existing legislation. They do not fall under the Illegal Migration Act, meaning the recent Northen Ireland High Court judgment on the legislation has no impact on current operations to relocate people.  

Home Office Director of Enforcement Eddy Montgomery said:    

We have been working to deliver this large-scale and complex operation.  

My teams are made up of highly trained, specialist officers and are fully equipped to carry out the necessary enforcement activity at pace and in the safest way possible.

Operation Vector is one part of the government’s wider plan to stop the boats. Solid progress has been made, with the number of small boat arrivals falling by more than a third in 2023. Our work with international partners prevented more than 26,000 crossings last year, as well as helping to dismantle 82 organised crime groups since July 2020.       

Further preparations to deliver the first flights to Rwanda in 7 to 9 weeks include putting an airport on standby and booking commercial charter planes, increasing detention capacity and having hundreds of trained and dedicated caseworkers ready to quickly process claims.

Source: Home OfficeImmigration Enforcement, and The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP

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