Migrants Under the Rwanda Scheme may Evade Deportation

Houses of Parliament at dusk, London, UK (Photo by Eric Hossinger / Flickr.com)

The Home Office has conceded that the majority of asylum seekers originally designated for deportation to Rwanda are not immediately traceable – BBC reports.

Documents revealed by the British Ministry revealed 3 557 of the 5 700 asylum seekers identified in the initial cohort had eluded the government. According to the documents, only “2 143 continue to report to the Home Office and can be located for detention.” A government source refuted the group’s disappearance.

The source claimed they were subject to laxer reporting restrictions and were not being housed in government facilities, insisting that the Home Office could contact all individuals at risk of deportation to Rwanda should the need arise.

Numerous asylum seekers do not reside in Home Office housing, and they are required to report to the agency in a variety of ways. While certain individuals are obligated to present their work in person, others have the option to report electronically and are subject to less stringent criteria. One government source acknowledged the potential for individuals to evade apprehension prior to their detention.

Chaos in the Management of Migration

Former chief immigration officer at Border Force, Kevin Saunders, said he was not surprised “in the slightest” the Home Office had lost contact with asylum seekers.

According to Mr Saunders asylum seekers had “ignored” the Rwanda plan thus far because they were informed it would never materialize. Regarding the Home Office’s assertion that the asylum seekers are not missing, he deemed it to be “telling porkies.” However, the fact that asylum seekers were “already disappearing” indicates that the Rwanda program is effective as a deterrent, he continued.

Migrants lacking legal authorization to remain in the United Kingdom ought to be detained solely in cases where their departure is reasonably imminent. Consequently, the vast majority of individuals who have traversed the English Channel are lodged in lodging provided by the Home Office. The rules are flexible; they are provided with a phone to communicate with officials and directed to report to one of thirteen immigration offices or the nearest police station.

The Home Office’s immigration reporting rulebook says that asylum seekers who have “no realistic timescales”” for a final decision may only need to report in person every three months. The group of people who could be sent to Rwanda should “generally” report every two weeks – but that rule does not appear to be fixed. Last December the Home Office separately stopped a pilot scheme to GPS-track 600 asylum seekers, by placing tags on their ankles. The UK’s data protection watchdog said that 18-month long pilot scheme had been unlawful.

“How can the Home Office Keep Losing so Many People?”

Labour’s shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said

“This latest farce exposes the total lack of grip the Conservatives have over the asylum system and the chaos at the heart of their Rwanda policy. The prime minister promised to detain and remove all those who crossed the Channel. Now he can’t even locate those intended for removal.”

As of July, according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the initial deportation flights to Rwanda will depart. The policy document provides specifics regarding the 5,700 individuals that Rwanda has already “in principle” consented to accept. All individuals included in the initial cohort entered the United Kingdom without authorization from January 2022 to June 2023.

On Monday, channel crossings persisted in the absence of any detected migrant arrivals on Sunday. To date this year, over 7,000 migrants have entered the United Kingdom, according to data from the Home Office.


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