The government has announced that the UK is expected to sign a deal with Rwanda to have male asylum seekers who arrive in the UK via the British Channel sent to the African nation to have their applications processed. Shanaz Ali and Alison Stanley of our Immigration, Asylum and Nationality team, comment on the proposed deal:
The Prime Minister and Home Secretary continue to experiment with new, shameful ways to control UK borders. Having been embarrassed by the number of asylum seekers risking their lives in coming across the Channel in small boats, the government has today announced that the UK is expected to sign a deal with Rwanda to have male asylum seekers’ applications processed whilst the applicant is in Rwanda.
Having arrived in what should be a safe haven in the UK, male asylum seekers will then be sent via air to Rwanda for processing. It has been described as a ‘really humane step forward’ by the Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, when it is clearly anything but. The plan has been condemned by the Refugee Council as ‘cruel and nasty’, but it is not only cruel, it is also a colossal waste of money. This move is expected to cost the UK around £128 million initially, which will be funded by taxpayers. It would be far more preferable if the government instead put their efforts and even a fraction of this cost towards improving the asylum process in the UK. Currently, applications are taking over a year on average to be assessed, and a disproportionate number of these decisions are wrong, and are overturned on appeal.
Rather than trying to outsource our obligations to Africa, the money would be better spent on ensuring that swift, sustainable decisions are made on asylum applications in the UK.