The government has announced plans to send British lawyers to Rwandan courts in an attempt to revive the scheme to remove migrants to the African country. This follows the Supreme Court ruling that deportations to Rwanda would be unlawful.
The new plan aims to provide stronger legal guarantee for the Rwanda scheme. The Supreme Court rejected the plan on the grounds that Rwanda is not a safe country and may not uphold the principle of non-refoulement under international law. This principle prohibits countries from sending asylum seekers back to a country where they may face danger of prosecution.
Responding to the launch of new migration statistics last week, Rishi Sunak vowed to reduce rates of net migration. There has been a steady increase in illegal channel crossings in recent years. The Prime Minister has been under the pressure to act since pledging to lower the numbers in the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto. Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer, informed the BBC that ‘There is an issue about processing and I know that the Home office are looking at that very carefully.’
Regarding reports of providing extra funding of £15 million on top of the £140 million to Rwanda, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, ‘I do not recognise that figure of £15 million, there has been no request for additional funding for the treaty made by Rwanda, or not offered by the UK Government.’
As the Supreme Court focused on whether Rwanda is a safe third-party state, without addressing the legality of the deportation itself, some 130 civil society organisations issued a statement saying that the Rwanda plan was ‘always cruel and immoral’ and urged the UK Government to immediately abandon such plans.
This week the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, also launched a new package of measures to tackle high levels of legal migration. He announced that the government aims to cut down net migration by 300,000 by raising the minimum salary requirement for a skilled overseas worker from £26,200 to £38,000. Concerned about the impact on the social care industry and gender equality, Unison General Secretary Christina McAnea said ‘I think it is cruel. Remember, this is a predominantly female workforce. So we’re saying: ‘You’re allowed to come here, but you can’t bring any children, or a child, if you’ve got them.’