UK Government Mulls Offering Payments to Rejected Asylum Seekers for Relocation to Rwanda*

The United Kingdom government revealed on Wednesday its contemplation of a scheme to encourage rejected asylum seekers to voluntarily relocate to Rwanda, with reports indicating that individuals could receive payments of up to £3,000 ($3,800) to facilitate the move.

This initiative, an expansion of existing voluntary return arrangements, emerges amidst ongoing challenges in implementing contentious proposals to deport migrants to the East African nation. Initial plans, introduced in 2022 to dissuade the influx of migrants arriving via small boats from mainland Europe, have faced legal obstacles, leading to a standstill in their execution.

In response to a UK Supreme Court ruling deeming deportation of asylum seekers to Kigali illegal under international law, the government is striving to comply by enacting legislation mandating judges to recognize Rwanda as a safe third country. Concurrently, a new treaty with Rwanda has been established.

Furthermore, a recent agreement entails facilitating the relocation of individuals whose asylum applications in Britain have been rejected, with financial assistance payments of up to £3,000 being offered to incentivize the move, as reported by The Times.

This innovative approach marks the first instance of migrants being financially incentivized to depart the UK without returning to their country of origin. It aims to address the challenge of accommodating tens of thousands of migrants who lack authorization to remain in Britain but cannot be repatriated to their home countries.

The UK’s interior ministry stated that voluntary relocations to Rwanda are under exploration, emphasizing the significance of such schemes in combating illegal migration, especially considering the voluntary removal of 19,000 individuals from the UK in the past year alone.

Rejected asylum seekers, unable to work legally in the UK, would be permitted to do so in Rwanda, with access to integration programs facilitating education and training. However, concerns persist regarding human rights issues in Rwanda, including restrictions on dissent and free speech.


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