Sun. Jun 9th, 2024

ailed asylum seekers are to be offered up to £3,000 to move to Rwanda under a new voluntary scheme.

The plan, first reported by The Times, is understood to be a variation of an existing voluntary returns scheme, where failed asylum seekers receive cash to return to their home country.

It will be open to anyone whose asylum claim has been rejected by the UK.

In particular it is aimed at those who cannot return to their home countries.

The government is already trying to implement a separate scheme under which people deemed to have arrived illegally in the UK would be deported to Rwanda.

That plan had been blocked by the courts, which raised concerns about Rwanda’s safety.

In order to overcome those objections, the government is currently trying to pass its Safety of Rwanda Bill, which would deem the East African country to be a safe place.

The told that, unlike that scheme, this new arrangement would be voluntary and therefore not dependent on the bill being approved by Parliament.

A Home Office spokesman said voluntary returns were “an important part of our efforts to tackle illegal migration”.

“We are exploring voluntary relocations for those who have no right to be here to Rwanda, who stand ready to accept people who wish to rebuild their lives and cannot stay in the UK,” they added.

Failed asylum seekers who choose to be relocated would be allowed to legally work in the country, unlike in the UK. They would also get additional support upon arrival in Rwanda.

The scheme will also be opened up to other people with no right to remain in the UK, and foreign criminals.

There is no date for when the first people would be relocated under the scheme, and no set figure on the number of people who may choose to take part in it.

‘No chance’
According to official statistics, 19,253 people were voluntarily removed from the UK last year. Of these, 3,319 received a “reintegration package” or flights paid by the Home Office – the highest number since 2010.

The Home Office says payments under the current scheme “can pay for” temporary accommodation in the destination country, or education costs, or the cost of setting up a business.

Responding to the government’s latest announcement, Labour’s shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said: “Even government ministers are finally recognising that their Rwanda scheme has no chance of succeeding, so they’re resorting to paying people to go there instead.”

He said Rwanda had “very limited capacity” for accepting people and that the government should “make clear how many people they expect to send on this basis, and what the cost will be.

“There have been so many confused briefings around the Rwanda policy that the public will be forgiven for treating this latest wheeze with a degree of scepticism.”

By Joy

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