First group of migrants to be sent to Rwanda in two weeks, Home Office says

31 May 2022, 18:03 | Updated: 31 May 2022, 18:36

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed the first flight to Rwanda will leave the UK on June 14.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed the first flight to Rwanda will leave the UK on June 14. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The first group of migrants will be sent to Rwanda on June 14, the Home Office has announced.

The Government has begun issuing formal removal directions to migrants due to be sent to Rwanda, with the first deportation flight due to depart in two weeks.

It described the move as the "final administrative step" in its partnership with the east African nation, whereby people who are deemed to have entered the UK illegally will be encouraged to rebuild their lives thousands of miles away.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Our world-leading partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system and break the evil people-smugglers' business model.

"Today's announcement is another critical step towards delivering that partnership and, while we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect."

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Ministers hope the Rwanda deal will stamp out people-smuggling to the UK - but are facing a series of legal challenges.

Asylum seekers who receive the deportation letters can challenge them in court.

The government has said those sent to Rwanda will be given support, including up to five years of training to help with integration, accommodation, and healthcare.

The Home Office did not say how many asylum seekers would be on the first deportation flight to Rwanda.

Asylum seekers are said to only have a week to provide detailed reasons as to why they should not be removed.

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Described by Ms Patel as a "world-first" agreement when it was announced last month, the deportation policy will see asylum seekers deemed to have entered the UK by illegal means sent to Rwanda, where their claims will be processed.

If successful, they will be granted asylum or given refugee status in the country.

Those with failed bids will be offered the chance to apply for visas under other immigration routes if they wish to remain in Rwanda, but could still face deportation.

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