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Rwanda asylum plan: Timeline of government’s policy to deport migrants

The Rwanda deal to deport asylum seekers was ruled illegal by the Court of Appeal, after judges concluded it was not a safe country to receive asylum seekers.

Flights will remain suspended before the government is expected to appeal the decision in the UK Supreme Court.

The ruling overturns the Supreme Court’s decision in December that ruled that Suella Braverman’s deal was legal. That follows a three-day appeal hearing in April with attorneys representing the six men selected for deportation arguing that the Home Office breached a legal obligation and failed to act. investigate a similar agreement between the African nation and Israel.

The government has spent at least £1.3m on the legal battle and admits the figure will rise further. This is separate from the £140m so far paid to Paul Kagame’s government to handle asylum cases in the UK.

Here’s how the events leading up to this moment unfolded, starting with the announcement of the plan in April 2022.


April 14: Following a dramatic increase in the number of people crossing the Channel, then-prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans to deport migrants arriving in Rwanda in small boats to have their claims processed. He said this would act as a “very significant deterrent”.

June 15: The first deportation flight to Rwanda was canceled just minutes before take-off following a ruling by a judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

August 23: The Defense Department said 1,295 migrants crossed the border on 27 boats, another new record that remains the highest number in a single day.

August 25: Former interior secretary Priti Patel announces an agreement with the Albanian government to bring back migrants to limit the number of people arriving from that country amid fears they make up 60% of all arrivals in the Kingdom Older brother.

November 14: New Interior Secretary Suella Braverman signs an agreement with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmian allowing British officers to join French beach patrols.

Interior Minister Suella Braverman visits the new construction training academy in Kigali (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

(PA wire)

November 23: Ms. Braverman acknowledged the government had “failed to control our borders”, but told MPs they were determined to “fix” the problem, following criticism of overcrowding at the processing center. Manston manager in Kent.

December 14: Four people died and 39 others were rescued after their dinghy capsized in the Channel.

December 19: The Supreme Court found the government’s Rwanda policy to be legitimate, but ordered a review of the cases of the first eight deportees.

December 31: About 45,755 migrants crossed the English Channel over the course of the year, according to government figures.


January 4th: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced legislation addressing the migrant crisis as one of the five key priorities of his term as prime minister.

March 7: Ms Braverman told MPs that the Illegal Migration Bill would impose a legal obligation to deport people who came to this country illegally, barring them from applying for asylum in the UK.

March 10: Tensions increased as Mr. Sunak defended the policy as the “right approach” to criticism from sports pundit Gary Lineker. Lineker’s interference led to a heated argument over fairness which resulted in his suspension. Match of the day. Some of his colleagues, including Alan Shearer and Ian Wright boycotted the show and others in solidarity with the presenter and he was later reinstated.

March 12: Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt has not ruled out the possibility of children being detained under new plans under which children crossing the English Channel are only eligible for asylum in a “safe” third country like Rwanda.

Interior Minister Suella Braverman says she wants to start deportations to Rwanda by summer

(PA wire)

March 13: The plan drew criticism from former Tory prime minister Theresa May, who said sending asylum seekers in Rwanda was “not enough” and warned the UK was “closing its doors” to victims of modern slavery.

March 14: A Supreme Court judge ruled that asylum seekers who were about to be deported to Rwanda could appeal decisions by the Interior Ministry about alleged errors in considering whether relocation would cause harm. risk to their human rights or not, deals another blow to the plan.

March 17: Ms Braverman doubled down on deportation policy during her visit to Rwanda despite the plan still embroiled in legal battles, claiming the £140m deal would be a “strong deterrent” to those who tries to cross the Channel.

March 18: Ms. Braverman was given a tour of housing for potential migrants after the land was purchased by the Rwandan government, before meeting with President Paul Kagame and his counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.

April 14: New figures show the Rwanda deal did not stop asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel a year after it was signed. As of early April, nearly 5,000 people have made the journey since the beginning of 2023, which is almost identical to the number seen at the same time in 2022.

Protesters had earlier protested outside the Royal Court of Justice against the Government’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda (Tom Pilgrim/PA)

(Archive PA)

April 15: Small boat migrants previously threatened with deportation to Rwanda have been accepted into the UK’s asylum system after months of living in limbo. They are among thousands of asylum seekers who have been sent a “notice of intent” because they have traveled through countries, such as France, where the UK has stated they can stay before crossing the English Channel. Older brother. Their notice was later retracted.

April 24: The next phase of the legal battle over the Rwanda deal begins, with the Court of Appeal reviewing whether it is safe to bring asylum seekers to the country. Suella Braverman has expanded the scope of the agreement since it was ruled legal by the Supreme Court in December 2022, meaning it can also be applied to victims of modern slavery and people migrate by other small boats.

April 24: Raza Husain KC told the Court of Appeal that Rwanda was not a safe country to receive asylum seekers from the UK and that the Supreme Court was wrong to declare the scheme legal. The appellants argued that the Home Office breached several legal obligations by deciding that Rwanda was a safe country to receive refugees and failed to properly investigate the outcome of a similar arrangement with Israel was in effect from 2013 to 2018.

May 7: Former British military chief, General Sir Richard Dannatt, attacks the government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda in small boats – saying the country is still living under “the shadow of genocide” .

May 15: Ms. Braverman laid out her conservative plan at a right-wing conference in central London. She spoke of her parents coming to Britain “through legal and controlled migration” and added that immigrants should “learn English and understand British social norms and beyond” .

June 29: The Rwanda deal was ruled illegal by the Court of Appeal, with the judges concluding that it was not a safe country to forcibly deport asylum seekers. The decision taken by Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, reversed the High Court’s decision and said: “Unless and until the deficiencies in its asylum process are rectified, the deportation of those asylum seekers coming to Rwanda would be illegal.”


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