Sunak wants to deport migrants to Armenia, Costa Rica and Botswana in a bid to replicate Rwanda scheme

15 April 2024, 07:24 | Updated: 15 April 2024, 08:31

Rishi Sunak Welcomes Rwandan President Paul Kagame To Downing Street
Rishi Sunak Welcomes Rwandan President Paul Kagame To Downing Street. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Rishi Sunak wants to replicate the Rwanda scheme with Armenia, Ivory Coast, Costa Rica and Botswana being targeted as possible destinations for migrants, leaked documents suggest.

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All four countries have been in negotiations with the UK to discuss what is described as "third-country asylum processing deal", The Times reports.

However, as the original Rwanda scheme struggles to get off the ground, progress has reportedly stalled with the nations.

Other nations considered by the Foreign Office also includes Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador. However, their governments have shown less interest in being involved in the scheme.

Cape Verde, Senegal, Tanzania and Sierra Leone are also on a 'reserve list', according to the leaked documents.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to 'stop the boats'
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to 'stop the boats'. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, Morocco, Tunisia and Namibia have "explicitly declined" to enter negotiations and are now considered "non-starters" by the Foreign Office.

It comes after a Cabinet minister insisted flights to Rwanda could take off “within weeks” - despite the Government seemingly having no airline willing to take migrants to the African nation.

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“We want them to take off as quickly as possible… We very much plan to have it within weeks,” Health minister Victoria Atkins said.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill is currently making its way through Parliament and includes provisions that would allow ministers to ignore such orders.

A government spokesperson said: "The UK is continuing to work with a range of international partners to tackle global illegal migration challenges.

"Our focus right now is passing the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which builds on the Illegal Migration Act, and putting plans in place to get flights off the ground as soon as possible."