Guernsey Press

Government expands Rwanda deportation plan to include failed asylum seekers

Asylum seekers in detention who are due to sent to Rwanda have told how they feel there is ‘no hope’.


Failed asylum seekers could be sent to Rwanda after the Government expanded its deportation plan.

Previously only migrants who had arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel on or after 1 January 2022, and who were handed notices telling them their asylum claim may be inadmissible before 29 June last year, were eligible for removal.

But now the Home Office said migrants who have “no right to be in the UK”, who have had claims refused or withdrawn and are unable to appeal their decision could also be given a one-way ticket to the east African nation under the multi-million pound deal struck in a bid to curb Channel crossings.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Boats and engines used by migrants to cross the Channel are being stored at a warehouse facility in Dover, Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Failed asylum seekers can already volunteer to be flown home or sent to Rwanda. Those who do not leave the UK by choice will “be in line for detention and enforced removal to a safe third country under the new agreement”, officials said.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said failed asylum seekers had been detained this week to be removed to Rwanda, adding: “These people have been through the asylum system and have no right to remain in the UK.”

His department would not provide any details of the immigration raids.

Meanwhile Britain handed Albania £1.6 million worth of cameras and drones in a bid to catch Channel people smuggling gangs.

A Syrian man, who said he sought sanctuary in the UK after fleeing conflict and persecution in his home country, described a desperate atmosphere in Colnbrook immigration removal centre where he claimed he was among up to 60 migrants all facing removal to Rwanda who had taken part in a hunger strike in the last week.

“When I came to the UK I thought I would be finally safe and free, but I am detained again,” he said, telling how many of the people being held in the detention centre near Heathrow Airport in west London are “very scared” about going to Rwanda and do not believe they will be safe there.

He claimed one of the detainees due to be sent to Rwanda tried to kill themselves on Saturday but was stopped by others and security guards stepped in.

While the latest hunger strike ended when the detainees “became very weak”, he fears they will have no choice but to carry out another as they try to highlight their concerns.

“This kind of thing is going to happen again as people are frustrated and they feel there is no hope. People mentally are very weak at the moment, everyone is uncertain about the future,” he said.

According to charity Life Seekers Aid, which is providing support to detainees, the man is among many who are experiencing delays in receiving documents from the Home Office which has made it difficult for them to access legal advice swiftly.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We take the welfare of individuals in our care extremely seriously, and there are robust safeguarding measures in place to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and has access to the support they need, including access to legal representation.”

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