Britain signs controversial asylum treaty with Rwanda

2023-12-06 16:56:56
Britain signs controversial asylum treaty with Rwanda

UK Home Secretary James Cleverly has signed a new Rwanda treaty in a fresh effort by the Tories aimed at reviving one of its failed plans to deal with the migrant inflow.

The plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is a key pillar of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s policy to “stop the boats” of migrants arriving from France and convince the public that No. 10 is doing all it can to stop asylum seekers.

The prime minister has been facing criticism over figures showing net legal immigration reached a record high last year in the UK.

The treaty signed with Rwanda on Tuesday aims to resolve Sunak’s immigration problems.

The revived plan aims to send asylum seekers landing in the UK to the African nation and head off criticism over the government’s failed asylum efforts.

Cleverly said he expected migrants to be heading to Rwanda in the coming months.

He claimed the new treaty had addressed all the problems that had been raised by the UK Supreme Court.

"I really hope that we can now move quickly," Cleverly said to reporters in Kigali.

The new migrant treaty, which replaced a former memorandum of understanding signed between the UK and Rwanda in this regard, came ahead of “emergency legislation” to push through the policy set to be introduced in Westminster as soon as this week to overcome the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that the Rwanda policy is unlawful.

Under the Sunak government's plan, London intends to send thousands of asylum seekers who arrived on its shores without permission to Rwanda to deter migrants from crossing the Channel from Europe on small boats causing a migrant crisis in the country.

"Stop the boats" is one of five goals Sunak set for his government to end the flow of asylum seekers.

The UK Supreme Court ruled unanimously last month that asylum seekers sent to Rwanda were at real risk of being sent back to their home countries without proper assessment of their claims.

However, the new treaty reportedly provides that anyone sent to Rwanda is given permanent leave to remain there even if their asylum application fails, government officials said, allowing them to work and access public services.

The UK government's first group of migrants relocated to Rwanda was scheduled to go last summer but the flight taking them was cancelled at the last moment because of legal shortcomings raised by the Court regaining the UK's obligations to refugees under domestic and international law.

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