In a first, U.K. sends asylum seeker to Rwanda

The man was relocated under a scheme that pays migrants £3,000 to leave the U.K.

Updated - May 01, 2024 03:20 pm IST

Published - May 01, 2024 02:11 pm IST - LONDON

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. File

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. File | Photo Credit: AFP

In a first, a migrant whose asylum application was rejected by the United Kingdom was sent to Rwanda under a voluntary scheme, according to reports in the British press.

The unnamed man, who was relocated under a scheme that pays migrants £3,000 to leave, took a commercial flight out of the U.K. on April 30 and arrived in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, according to The Sun, which first reported the story.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had vowed last week to begin forcibly removing migrants with failed asylum claims to Rwanda starting in July in a bid to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel on boats to enter the U.K.

This is separate from the voluntary scheme that was announced in March and is a variant of an existing scheme where those without a right to remain in the U.K. are given financial assistance if they agree to leave the country.

The move was criticized by the Opposition. Yvette Cooper, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, called it an “extortionate pre-election gimmick costing U.K. taxpayers”.

As the U.K. heads towards an election, the Conservative government is keen to show that it is curbing migration, both legal and undocumented, to the U.K. Three major food delivery companies- Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats will begin checking substitute drivers’ right to work documents, the Home Office announced on April 30.

A government minister, on Tuesday, defended the deportation agreement with Rwanda, despite a Home Office impact assessment which said that only 2,143 of the 5,700 migrants who were identified for deportation could be located.

The individuals not reporting to the Home Office “will be located by law enforcement and be put on the planes as well” , Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said in an interview with a TV channel.

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