Boris Johnson braces for battle over £120m deal to send Channel migrants 4,000 miles to Rwanda

Boris Johnson braces for battle over £120m deal to send Channel migrants 4,000 miles to Rwanda

Soccer News

How will the new Rwanda migrant scheme work? 

Cross-channel arrivals assessed and anyone deemed an economic migrant rather than a refugee is sent to Rwanda

  • Initial agreement worth £120million over five years  
  • Failed immigrants urged to start new life in Africa 
  • Initially based at hostel in Kigali
  • Hope House is currently being used as budget accommodation for tourists
  • Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property 
  • Memorandum of understanding (MOU) says Government will screen asylum seekers ‘without delay’ after arrival in the UK
  • All requests will require approval from Rwanda before relocation
  • Nation can refuse to take people with criminal records 
  • People who cross the Channel in small boats will undergo initial checks at the Western Jet Foil facility in Dover
  • Further checks at a processing site in Manston, Kent. Where their claim is deemed inadmissible, they may be removed to a ‘third safe country’. 
  • Royal Navy to lead Channel policing role, helping Border Force from today
  • PM attacked ‘a formidable army of politically motivated lawyers’ who have thwarted previous action
  • PM: ‘Our compassion may be infinite but our capacity to help people is not. We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here.’ 

Boris Johnson today insisted the threat of a one-way ticket to Rwanda for immigrants caught trying to sneak into Britain by crossing the Channel in dinghies will ‘save countless lives’. 

Under a £120million agreement with Kigali, economic migrants arriving in the UK illegally will be refused asylum and detained in a former military base before being flown directly to the African nation. 

In a speech this morning – as more migrants arrived on the south coast – the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit in support of the scheme, saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

He said that while the UK’s compassion may be ‘endless’, its capacity to host people was not, adding: ‘We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a blank cheque.’

Amid concerns from charities and rival politicians that the scheme was ‘cruel’, the PM insisted it would save ‘countless lives’ and that it would break the business model of ‘vile people smugglers’.

He also faced criticism over the cost of the scheme – which critics said could reach £1.4billion – and Rwanda’s dubious human rights record, after he said the nation was ‘dynamic’. 

Rwanda is best known in the West for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’. Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there.

Mr Johnson also announced that the Royal Navy will be drafted in to lead efforts to stop small boats crossing the Channel. Seven ships including HMS Tyne, plus smaller boats, a helicopter and drones will be made available. 

But it is understood that the force, with 250-300 personnel, is merely supplementing Border Force vessels and will have no push-back function. 

The sailors will continue the policy of picking up the people on the boats as required under international law, to free up BF personnel to speed up processing of arrivals in Dover.

Hundreds of people crossed the English Channel today, with women, children and men brought ashore at Dover, Kent, on several occasions through Thursday by Border Force and RNLI boats.

At least two people, who were apparently poorly following the crossing, were helped off the boats.

Under the new system all adults who arrive illegally in the UK will be assessed, and if they are deemed an economic migrant rather than a refugee fleeing a dangerous homeland, they will be taken to a detention centre in north Yorkshire. They will then be given five days notice that they are to be flown to Rwanda.

Once in Rwanda they will no longer be under the UK’s jurisdiction and subject to that country’s refugee rules, with no legal right to return to Britain. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel arrived in Rwandan capital Kigali last night and is due to sign a five-year agreement today.   

Officials believe the agreement to ‘off-shore’ the processing of asylum seekers will deter thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel in dinghies, saving lives and cutting off income from the criminal gangs that control the trade. 

But Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said the plans were ‘cruel and nasty’, and accused the Government of ‘lurching from one inhumane policy to the next’. 

He said: ‘Treating people like human cargo by using the force of military to repel vulnerable people who have already endured extreme human suffering, and expelling them to centres in Rwanda, a country with a questionable record on human rights, is dangerous, cruel and inhumane.’

The policies will ‘do little to deter desperate people from seeking protection or stop the smugglers but only lead to more human suffering, chaos and at huge expense to the UK’, he added. 

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10, although Mr Patel said the plans had been in the pipeline ‘for months’.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer branded it ‘unworkable’ and ‘extortionate’. The Labour leader said: ‘I think we need to see these plans for what they are. It’s a desperate announcement by a Prime Minister who just wants to distract from his own law breaking.’

Sir David Normington, who was the top civil servant in the Home Office from 2005 to 2011, told BBC Newsnight the government’s plan was ‘inhumane, it’s morally reprehensible, it’s probably unlawful and it may well be unworkable’.

Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz hotel would be cheaper than offshoring, claiming the cost to the British taxpayer would be £2million per person, per year. 

And former defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘He’s trying to make an announcement today on migration, and all of this is a massive distraction (from Partygate). It’s not going away.’            

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent.

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveiled the £120million scheme , saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

Speaking in Kent he said that while the UK’s compassion may be ‘endless’, its capacity to host people was not, adding: ‘We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a black cheque.’

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister will invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveils a £120million scheme to send men who cross from France in small boats to East Africa, saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

Government sources admitted the scheme – which has been two years in the planning – will ‘face challenges’.

Answering questions in Kigali, Ms Patel said the country had an ‘established record of welcoming and integrating people’.

Welcome to Rwanda: Regime in genocide-haunted country accused of murder, kidnapping and torture

Rwanda is a landlocked country in central and eastern Africa best known in the west for the horrific 1994 ethnic genocide. 

In just 100 days of a brutal civil war, up to 800,000 Tutsi people were murdered, with many of them hacked to death in their homes by armed militias of the Hutu majority.

Up to half a million women were raped as violence gripped the country, often with neighbours turning on neighbours. 

The carnage provoked horror and condemnation around the world, and the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front later won the war and forced those responsible for the murder into exile.

But while the country is more stable today, it still has a highly questionable human rights record.

Earlier this week the US State Department produced its annual analysis of the country.

It reported ‘significant human rights issues’ with the Government, including:

  • unlawful or arbitrary killings
  • forced disappearance 
  • torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment 
  • harsh and life-threatening prison conditions
  • arbitrary detention
  • political prisoners or detainees
  •  arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy 

It added: ‘The government took some steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses and acts of corruption, including within the security services, but impunity involving civilian officials and some members of the state security forces was a problem.’

In a separate report, Amnesty International reports similar findings.

While noting the Kagame government had acted to help women prosecuted for having abortions, and to prosecute those accused of genocide, it added: ‘Violations of the rights to a fair trial, freedom of expression and privacy continued, alongside enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force.’

Ministers what is being billed as a ‘world-first’ deal with the government of Paul Kagame to host economic migrants at a former tourist hostel in the capital.

Mr Johnson today branded it one of the safest countries in the world. And answering questions in Kigali, Ms Patel said the country had an ‘established record of welcoming and integrating people’.

Speaking at a press conference she said the African country had ‘one of the strongest records for refugee resettlement’ and, in recent years, had resettled more than 130,000 refugees.  

Mr Johnson criticised the ‘rank unfairness’ of the current asylum system, which he claimed is being exploited by men entering via small boat crossings at the expense of women and children.

Speaking at Lydd Airport near Dungeness, the Prime Minister said: ‘Our compassion may be infinite but our capacity to help people is not. We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here.

‘Uncontrolled immigration creates unmanageable demands on our NHS and on our welfare state, it overstretches our local schools, our housing and public transport and creates unsustainable pressure to build on precious green spaces.

‘Nor is it fair on those who are seeking to come here legally if others can bypass the system. It’s a striking fact that around seven out of 10 of those arriving in small boats last year were men under 40 paying people smugglers to queue jump and taking up our capacity to help genuine women and child refugees.

‘This is particularly perverse as those attempting crossings are not directly fleeing imminent peril, as is the intended purpose of the asylum system. They pass through manifestly safe countries including many in Europe where they could and should claim asylum.

‘It’s this rank unfairness of a system that can be exploited by gangs which risks eroding public support for the whole concept of asylum.’

Asked if he could guarantee that under his premiership there will be no more small boats attempting to cross the Channel, the Prime Minister said: ‘Can I guarantee that we’re going to get rid of the small boats problem? No, obviously not.

‘But I think that what we can hope to do is to demolish the business model and greatly to deter those who come here. But to say that we’re going to get down to zero any time soon is unlikely.

‘What we’re proposing today is, I think, certainly a radical plan, but it will take a while to come fully and properly into effect.’

People who cross the Channel in small boats will undergo initial checks at the Western Jet Foil facility in Dover before further checks at a processing site in Manston, Kent.

Where their claim is deemed inadmissible, they may be removed to a ‘third safe country’.

All councils will be expected to participate in asylum dispersal, with a consultation on how this will work due to launch soon.

A former director general of the UK Border Force, Tony Smith, said the plan is a ‘bold move’ and may put people off paying people smugglers.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme, he said: ‘If we don’t do anything and we allow the business model to continue then I’m afraid, you know, the numbers are just going to keep going up and more and more people are going to fall into the hands of human smugglers and drown. But I think, whether it will work or not, I think only time will tell.’

Asked if it will put people smugglers off trying to sell routes to the UK, he said: ‘Yes I do, because at the moment, as you know, the business model and the narrative over on the French coast is ‘look, all you need to do is get into this boat, right, now give me 5,000 euros or 6,000 euros and we will get you into the UK’, and that’s actually true.

Navy drafted in to help struggling Border Force 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the Royal Navy in ‘operational command’ from Thursday of handling boats crossing the Channel.

Seven ships including HMS Tyne, plus smaller boats, a helicopter and drones will be made available. 

But it is understood that the force, with 250-300 personnel, is merely supplementing Border Force vessels and will have no push-back function. 

The sailors will continue the policy of picking up the people on the boats as required under international law, to free up BF personnel to speed up processing of arrivals in Dover.

Shadow armed forces minister Luke Pollard said: ‘The Royal Navy are critical to our defence and national security, and should be focussing on the growing threat from Russia, not being forced to fix the failures of Conservative ministers.

‘Our Armed Forces will do this job with total professionalism. But we need Ministers to set a clear timetable to bring Border Force out of special measures. Ministers must show they have a plan to revert Border Force to civilian control so that the Royal Navy can return to its essential defence duties.’

More than 5,000 migrants are thought to have arrived in the UK this year so far after crossing the Channel.

Since the start of 2022, 4,617 people had reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats as of Tuesday, according to data obtained from the Home Office by the PA news agency.

It is understood that a further 600 arrived on Wednesday with hundreds more on Thursday, although these figures have not yet been confirmed.

The previous highest daily total for this year was recorded on March 15 when 405 people made the crossing in 12 boats, analysis shows.

‘That is what’s happening. No one is being sent back anywhere, the word gets back to say that this is what you’ve got to do, and you know, regardless of the merits of your claim, you’ll get in.

‘And as he said, you will end up in a hotel somewhere, you will get legal representation, there’s a very good chance that you’ll never be returned anywhere and you’ll achieve your ambition.’

Ms Patel insisted the UK’s new deal with Rwanda ‘fully complies with all international and national law’ and said it would ‘deal a major blow to the evil people smugglers’. 

Her plan is designed to deter economic migrants by showing that even if they reach British shores, they will not be allowed to remain here. 

If the scheme works as expected, thousands of asylum seekers will end up further away from Britain than where they started. 

Government sources admitted the scheme – which has been two years in the planning – will ‘face challenges’. 

But ministers are ‘very confident’ they have a solid case and that it is not fair that economic migrants have been ‘jumping the queue’ at the expense of refugees fleeing genuine persecution. 

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has called the Government’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda ‘a cynical distraction from the Prime Minister’s law breaking’.

He tweeted: ‘The UK Government’s plans to send asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda is cruel and inhumane.

‘This is not the way to treat people seeking safety and sanctuary.

‘This is nothing more than a cynical distraction from the Prime Minister’s law breaking.’

Explaining how the Government’s plan for Rwanda to process asylum seekers will ‘break up’ the business model for criminal gangs, Mr Hart told LBC radio: ‘Priti Patel and the PM are going to spell out the detail of this later on today.

‘But if they (the criminal gangs) think that the potential lucrative returns that they have been relying on so far are going to be in jeopardy because we have the Ministry of Defence helping out in the Channel and we have an arrangement with the Rwandan government for the proper and humane treatment of these people, then the criminal gangs will realise that their potential source of income will dry up.

‘That’s the plan, per se. The devil is in the details, it always is. But we simply can’t just sit back and continue to watch 28,000 people using… or attempting to cross.’

The Wales Secretary added: ‘What we are proposing with the government of Rwanda is to improve the chances to break up the criminal gangs, to reduce the horrible level of exploitation and to improve the chances for people who have crossed half the world at huge emotional and personal and financial expense.

‘At the moment, they are being put in dreadful danger by these ruthless people, and so I think what we are doing is really consistent with our reputation.

‘We pride ourselves on this ‘nation of sanctuary’ label and I hope that this, when it’s up and running, will be able to reinforce that reputation.’

Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart told broadcasters this morning the scheme could be a ‘really humane step forward’

When will the first migrants be flown to Rwanda? Will they return to UK if asylum is granted? YOUR questions answered as PM reveals Australia-style plan for Channel refugees

Boris Johnson‘s plan to fly many asylum seekers 4,000 miles to Rwanda sparks an obvious question – how will it all work?

Despite drawing obvious comparisons to Australia’s model of ‘offshoring’ migrants on Pacific island detention centres, the initiative has few precedents and raises a raft of logistical and ethical challenges.

With 28,526 Channel migrant crossings last year, the scale of the problem ministers are trying to tackle is obvious. 

But their solution has been widely condemned by opposition politicians and human rights groups, who have branded it ‘cruel’, ‘impractical’ and ruinously expensive. 

The Prime Minister himself has accepted it is likely to face legal challenges, although he insists it is lawful under both UK and international law. 

As the government gears up for a huge battle to see the plan through Parliament and the courts, we answer your key questions about how it could work and what will happen to the migrants involved. 

Who could be sent to Rwanda?

Anyone who comes to the UK illegally – including in small boats or refrigerated lorries – will be considered for relocation to Rwanda. 

There will be an assessment stage, where the strength of each individual’s asylum claim will be taken into account, as well as the way they arrived in the country. 

The exact nature of this process has not yet been announced but the military won’t be involved. 

Anyone sent to Rwanda on flights paid for by UK taxpayers will have their claims processed there rather than in the UK. Others will be taken to a new immigration centre at a former RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse, near York. 

Simon Hart, the Secretary of State for Wales, said the plan was focused on single young men, as they are considered to be more likely to be economic migrants. But a government source said anyone was eligible, regardless of sex.  

What will happen once they arrive?

Migrants are subject to Rwandan immigration rules as soon as they land. 

Anyone the authorities decide to deport – such as people who commit a crime – can be sent to the first ‘safe’ country or their country of origin. 

Asylum seekers will stay in a hostel while their claims are processed – a process set to take around three months. 

Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of Kigali, is set to be the first places to be used. It currently houses tourists for £19 a night. Guests will be allowed to move around freely and leave the property as they wish. 

Today, Priti Patel appeared to suggest the government would share responsibility for the wellbeing of migrants for the duration of their asylum claim. 

‘This is a partnership between our two countries,’ she said when asked if the UK will be responsible for their welfare and the conditions they live in.   

People who are found to have a legitimate claim to asylum will be allowed to stay in Rwanda for at least five years with a training and support package. Those who fail will be deported back to their home country.     

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of Rwanda’s capital city Kigali, where the first arrivals are likely to be housed 

Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

When will the first migrants be flown there? 

The first people to be relocated to Rwanda will receive formal notifications within weeks, with the first flights expected to take place in the coming months.

However, Boris Johnson today accepted that legal challenges would mean the system ‘will not take effect overnight’.  

He said the agreement is ‘uncapped’ and Rwanda will have the ‘capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years ahead’, including those who have arrived ‘illegally’ since the start of the year. 

What is the government’s reasoning?

The plan is designed to deter economic migrants by showing that even if they reach British shores, they will not be allowed to remain here.

If the scheme works as expected, thousands of asylum seekers will end up further away from Britain than where they started.

It will also undermine the business models of people traffickers, who have been driving migrants to sea in increasingly unsafe conditions.

Other aspects of the plan are thought to include a new reception centre for asylum seekers in North Yorkshire, the Ministry of Defence being put in charge of policing the Channel and legal reforms to prevent failed asylum seekers mounting repeated appeals.   

Boris Johnson outlining the scheme in Kent today. Alongside the Rwanda scheme he has also ordered the Navy to police the English Channel and announced legal reforms 

There are plans to expand the facility by building more accommodation blocks, eventually seeing it offer 150 rooms and be able to sleep up to 300 people

What are critics saying?

The plan has already faced a massive backlash, with claims that it is both cruel and expensive. Rwanda is best known in the west for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’. 

Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there.

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10, although Mr Patel said the plans had been in the pipeline ‘for months’.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer branded the PM ‘desperate’ and said the plans were ‘unworkable, extortionate and will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds’.

And former defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘He’s trying to make an announcement today on migration, and all of this is a massive distraction (from Partygate). It’s not going away.’ 

Will it end up in court?

Almost certainly.

Mr Johnson has accepted the plan is likely to face legal challenges, although he insisted it was ‘fully compliant with our international legal obligations’. 

Ministers believe it is legal under UK and EU laws, but human rights lawyers are expected to be already preparing cases.   

What’s it for Rwanda?

The country’s government will receive £120 million as part of the trial scheme, with the potential for increasing these payments if it proves a success. 

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame is understood to be keen on the arrangement because his country is in desperate need of young male workers. 

Millions of young men have left Africa in recent decades for Europe and the US.    

How much could it cost?

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, predicted the plan would cost £1.4 billion a year.

But the Home Office questioned the figure, with a source saying it was ‘ludicrous to suggest costs would be more than the current system’.

Think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research pointed out that Australia’s scheme has cost taxpayers around £5.2 billion since 2013. 

Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz hotel would be cheaper, putting the figure at £2million per person, per year. 

Is there any precedent for asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda?

Yes, a similar migration deal between Rwanda and Israel between 2014 and 2017 saw thousands of African asylum seekers housed in guarded hotels.  

Nearly all the migrants left the country almost immediately, with many attempting to return to Europe via human smuggling routes, which are notorious for human rights abuses.   

Inside tourist hotel in Rwanda that will host Channel migrants flown 4,000 miles from the UK for up to three months in Australia-style plan to send them to country in desperate need of young men

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see people taken to a hostel in the capital city for processing.

Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of Kigali, is currently being used as accommodation for tourists, according to Rwandan government officials.

Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed. It is understood this could take up to three months.

Home Secretary Priti Patel made a private visit to the site today to see an example of what accommodation may be on offer.

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to the former tourist hostel 

This is understood to be Ms Patel’s first visit to Rwanda since the deal was thrashed out, after being briefed by Home Office and Foreign Office officials who have been researching the plan.

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms.

But there are plans to expand the facility by building more accommodation blocks, eventually seeing it offer 150 rooms and be able to sleep up to 300 people.

Asylum seekers are expected to be provided meals three times a day to eat in a communal dining room, with some kitchen facilities also available for those with special dietary requirements.

The government’s plan has already faced a massive backlash, with claims that it is both cruel and expensive.

Dr Peter William Walsh, Senior Researcher at the Migration Observatory in Oxford, said it would face ‘all kinds of logistical challenges’.

He told MailOnline: ‘Australia’s offshore experiment was beset by all kinds of problems, with people unable to access healthcare, as well as high rates of suicide and abuse. Then there’s the financial side to it. 

‘The Australian system was thought to be 800 times more expensive to house them offshore than in local centres. It cost one billion Australian dollars (£567m) to house fewer than 300 people.

‘There are so many questions about this plan and a lot of scepticism about whether it will actually come to pass given all the challenges it will face.’ 

Rwanda is best known in the west for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’.

Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there. But Boris Johnson today branded it ‘dynamic’ and one of the safest countries in the world. 

Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker.

If they are deemed to be economic migrants, they will be sent to Rwanda, where schemes will be put in place to help them build a new life.

It is thought that in other cases, all asylum processing will take place after the claimant arrives in Rwanda. Britain will pay the costs of their resettlement. 

A source told the Telegraph that the British Army would be involved to prevent ‘battles on the quayside’, adding: ‘They will drive you to the airport and send you straight to Rwanda’.

The Refugee Council charity was among those to urge an immediate rethink of the plan, with chief executive Enver Solomon saying it would not work and would cost the taxpayer around £1.4billion a year as part of the while asylum system.

The United Nations refugee agency also expressed concern over the ‘shifting rather than the sharing of responsibilities’.

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10. 

At a press conference today, Priti Patel said the agreement with Rwanda ‘fully complies with all international and national law’.

She said the deal is ‘in keeping with our vision for global Britain that harnesses the potential for new relationships, and stimulates investments and jobs in partner countries’.

Home Secretary added: ‘Working together, the United Kingdom and Rwanda will help make the immigration system fairer, ensure that people are safe and enjoy new opportunities to flourish.’

She said people who enter the UK ‘illegally will be considered for relocation’ to have their claims decided, adding: ‘Those who are resettled will be given the support, including up to five years of training with the help of integration, accommodation, healthcare, so that they can resettle and thrive.’

She added that the UK is making a ‘substantial investment in the economic development of Rwanda’ which aims to develop the country’s economy and support its people. 

‘This is very much, number one, a partnership,’ she said. ‘Clearly we engage in dialogue and we have been for over nine months now.

‘But Rwanda has a very unique history in terms of refugees and resettlement, resettlement in particular. First and foremost, Rwanda is a safe and secure country with the respect for the rule of law, and clearly a range of institutions that have evolved and developed over time.

‘If I may say so, Rwanda has been very forward leaning, and has been very dynamic in the conversations that we have had as well around, yes, economic growth and the partnership, but respect for people and giving them the ability to find new opportunities, but effectively restart their lives, rebuild careers, potentially, and settle here successfully.’ 

First look at UK’s first ‘Greek-style asylum centre’: Abandoned Yorkshire RAF base inspired by Greece which holds migrants in shipping-style containers and subjects them to checks on their movements and curfews

An abandoned RAF base in a tiny North Yorkshire village will soon be used to house asylum seekers for up to six months in shipping-style containers and subject them to checks on movements and curfews.  

The decision to use Linton-on-Ouse – population 1,200 – comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to unveil a new hardline immigration policy.

It will see asylum seekers flown 4,000 miles away to Rwanda to have their claims processed following a £120 million deal with the African country.

In the UK migrants will be held in ‘Greek-style reception centres’, the first of which will be built at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Channel migrants will have to stick to strict rules or else they could lose their right to asylum.  

Home Secretary Priti Patel is modelling the centre on Greek asylum camps where migrants undergo routine checks of their movements and have curfews.   

‘If they breach the rules, it could affect their asylum claim,’ said a UK government source to the Telegraph. 

‘You would be told that you would have to be in by this time. That’s fair rules for operating if you provide food and accommodation. The Greeks have things like timings.’  

The decision to use Linton-on-Ouse – population 1,200 – comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to unveil a new hardline immigration policy

It will see asylum seekers flown 4,000 miles away to Rwanda to have their claims processed following a £120 million deal with the African country. Pictured: Linton-on-Ouse  

An abandoned RAF base in a tiny North Yorkshire village will soon be used to house asylum seekers for up to six months

In the UK migrants will be held in ‘Greek-style reception centres’, the first of which will be built at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. Pictured: Migrant container camp in Kleedi in Greece

Pictured: Migrant shipping containers in Kleedi, Greece 

A migrant camp in Kleedi, Greece, where shipping containers are used 

It is understood local residents were not briefed or consulted on the plans, which came to light this week. 

The village has been left feeling ‘like a ghost town’ since the withdrawal of air force personnel over the last three years.

The RAF base has lain empty since 2020, when the Ministry of Defence announced it would no longer be actively using the site.

It was expected to be sold in the coming years, but the government has now revealed a new use for the 680-acre facility.

Accommodation for asylum seekers will be set up, while a processing centre will also be built.

Initially, it will house migrants who arrive in the UK on boats, although Thirsk and Malton’ Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake has also proposed that the site is also opened to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war with Russia.

A general view of a registration and hospitality center for refugees and migrants, known as a hotspot, on the southeastern Greek island of Leros

Pictured: An asylum centre on the southeastern Greek island of Leros that is filled with shipping containers 

A reception centre for asylum seekers on the Greek island of Leros 

In a statement, Mr Hollinrake said: ‘I have recently met with the Immigration Minister following the announcement the RAF site at Linton-on-Ouse will be used as an asylum seeker accommodation and processing centre. It forms part of increase in capacity measure to deliver more timely decisions.

‘I appreciate my constituents may have a number of questions about this site, but it is important to note these claims must be processed somewhere and in a humane and managed manner.

‘I want to assure constituents I will be working closely with the Home Office on this throughout.

‘It is crucial that those being processed are housed in suitable and appropriate settings, with recreation and social facilities to enable those individuals to live as normal a life as possible.

‘I have been assured the time limit for any asylum seekers to remain the site will be 180 days and I have ensured the Minister is clear this must be stuck to, to ensure those waiting for decisions are not unduly delayed.’

Mr Hollinrake added that he is in discussions with the government about how to minimise ‘disturbance’ to local residents in the small village.

It is anticipated that up to 300 jobs could be created on the RAF base, including ‘a number of new business opportunities in catering and other areas’.

Mr Hollinrake said: ‘There are a number of conditions I wanted to ensure were considered in advance of the site opening.

‘I have made it clear the local community must be at the heart of these plans, prioritising those in the area for any jobs which may be required at the site.’

‘I have spoken to other members of parliament who already have similar facilities in their areas. Initial concerns around disturbance to local communities has not been borne out in practice, so hopefully this will be the case here also.

‘I have also asked the Minister if he can consider opening the site up to Ukrainian refugees, given the heartwarming response from Thirsk and Malton constituents to the crisis.

‘I will keep constituents updated with any further developments.’

There are concerns about the new Rwandan immigration policy considering the country’s human rights record.

According to the campaign group Human Rights Watch, ‘arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, and torture in official and unofficial detention facilities is commonplace, and fair trial standards are routinely flouted in many sensitive political cases, in which security-related charges are often used to prosecute prominent government critics. Arbitrary detention and mistreatment of street children, sex workers and petty vendors occurs widely.’

It comes as Boris Johnson ordered the Royal Navy to police the English Channel and stop small boats from today.   

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent.

Speaking just a few miles away he hailed the UK as a ‘beacon of openness’ before confirming an agreement with Rwanda to send boat people 4,000 miles to the east African nation – in many cases permanently.

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveiled the £120million scheme, saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

He said that while the UK’s compassion may be ‘endless’, its capacity to host people was not, adding: ‘We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a black cheque.’

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent.

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveiled the £120million scheme , saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

Ministers have struck a ‘world-first’ deal with the government of Paul Kigame to host economic migrants. Home Secretary Priti Patel arrived in Rwandan capital Kigali last night and is due to sign a five-year agreement today.   

Officials believe the agreement to ‘off-shore’ the processing of asylum seekers will deter thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel in dinghies, saving lives and cutting off income from the criminal gangs that control the trade. 

But the plan has already faced a massive backlash, with claims that it is both cruel and expensive. Rwanda is best known in the west for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’. Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there.

But Mr Johnson today branded it ‘dynamic’ and one of the safest countries in the world. And answering questions in Kigali, Ms Patel said the country had an ‘established record of welcoming and integrating people’.

Speaking at a press conference she said the African country had ‘one of the strongest records for refugee resettlement’ and, in recent years, had resettled more than 130,000 refugees. 

Speaking in Kent he said that while the UK’s compassion may be ‘endless’, its capacity to host people was not, adding: ‘We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a black cheque.’

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker. If they are deemed to be economic migrants, they will be sent to Rwanda, where schemes will be put in place to help them build a new life. 

It is thought that in other cases, all asylum processing will take place after the claimant arrives in Rwanda. Britain will pay the costs of their resettlement.

A source told the Telegraph that the British Army would be involved to prevent ‘battles on the quayside’, adding: ‘They will drive you to the airport and send you straight to Rwanda’.  

The Refugee Council charity was among those to urge an immediate rethink of the plan, with chief executive Enver Solomon saying it would not work and would cost the taxpayer around £1.4billion a year as part of the while asylum system.

The United Nations refugee agency also expressed concern over the ‘shifting rather than the sharing of responsibilities’. 

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister will invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveils a £120million scheme to send men who cross from France in small boats to East Africa, saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10. 

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, told the Guardian it was a ‘shameful announcement meant to distract from Boris Johnson’s recent law-breaking.

‘It is an unworkable, unethical and extortionate policy that would cost the UK taxpayer billions of pounds during a cost of living crisis and would make it harder, not easier, to get fast and fair asylum decisions,’ she said. 

Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz hotel would be cheaper than offshoring, claiming the cost to the British taxpayer would be £2million per person, per year.  

Mr Johnson criticised the ‘rank unfairness’ of the current asylum system, which he claimed is being exploited by men entering via small boat crossings at the expense of women and children.

Speaking at Lydd Airport near Dungeness, the Prime Minister said: ‘Our compassion may be infinite but our capacity to help people is not. We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here.

‘Uncontrolled immigration creates unmanageable demands on our NHS and on our welfare state, it overstretches our local schools, our housing and public transport and creates unsustainable pressure to build on precious green spaces.

‘Nor is it fair on those who are seeking to come here legally if others can bypass the system. It’s a striking fact that around seven out of 10 of those arriving in small boats last year were men under 40 paying people smugglers to queue jump and taking up our capacity to help genuine women and child refugees.

‘This is particularly perverse as those attempting crossings are not directly fleeing imminent peril, as is the intended purpose of the asylum system. They pass through manifestly safe countries including many in Europe where they could and should claim asylum.

‘It’s this rank unfairness of a system that can be exploited by gangs which risks eroding public support for the whole concept of asylum.’ 

Priti to face down migrant backlash: She’s braced for legal challenge from human rights lawyers and Left over new Rwanda deal

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent in Kigali, Rwanda 

Ministers are determined to face down what is likely to be a fierce backlash over the plans to tackle the issue of cross-Channel migration. 

Sources said Home Secretary Priti Patel has been ‘working night and day’ for the last eight months on the agreement with Rwanda, announced tomorrow. 

It will see asylum seekers sent to the East African nation for processing or, in some cases, if they are ruled to be economic migrants rather than genuine refugees. 

In short, it is designed to have a deterrent effect, and to stop migrants from attempting to enter the UK in the first place.

The Rwanda deal comes after a number of other locations for offshore processing were said to be under consideration by the Home Office. 

Sources said Home Secretary Priti Patel has been ‘working night and day’ for the last eight months on the agreement with Rwanda, announced tomorrow.

Ghana and Albania were mooted, along with disused North Sea oil platforms and decommissioned ferries off the UK coast. Ascension Island, part of a UK overseas territory almost 4,500 miles away in the South Atlantic, was also suggested last month. 

Offshoring asylum seekers will be highly controversial, and even Tory backbenchers have questioned the expense. 

Last month Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz hotel would be cheaper than offshoring, claiming the cost to the British taxpayer would be £2million per person, per year. 

Ministers are also braced for a legal challenge from human rights lawyers – as well as political opposition from Labour and the Left. 

Flows of migrants across the Channel have seemed an insoluble challenge since numbers began to rise four years ago. 

Last year a record 28,500 migrants reached British shores aboard dinghies and small boats, with trends appearing to rise yet further so far this year. Ministers will now attempt a different approach – with a complex international agreement that has taken two years to secure. 

Last year a record 28,500 migrants reached British shores aboard dinghies and small boats, with trends appearing to rise yet further so far this year

In a speech tomorrow, Boris Johnson will defend the new plan, saying that the Government has to control illegal immigration. 

‘We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not,’ he will say. 

‘The British people voted several times to control our borders, not to close them, but to control them. 

‘So just as Brexit allowed us to take back control of legal immigration by replacing free movement with our points-based system, we are also taking back control of illegal immigration, with a long-term plan for asylum in this country.’ 

The Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill will grant the Home Secretary new legal powers to process asylum seekers overseas. 

The Bill is yet to complete its final stages in Parliament, and earlier this year the House of Lords voted to remove the offshoring powers, only for them to be later re-instated by a Commons vote. 

‘We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not,’ the Prime Minister is expected to say

A group of people thought to be migrants are are guided up the beach after being brought in to Dungeness, Kent, on March 24

Tonight, the initial reaction from charities suggested they would bitterly oppose the plans. 

Enver Solomon, of the Refugee Council, said: ‘We are appalled by the Government’s cruel and nasty decision to send those seeking sanctuary in our country to Rwanda. 

‘Offshoring the UK’s asylum system will do absolutely nothing to address the reasons why people take perilous journeys to find safety in the UK. 

‘It will do little to deter them from coming to this country, but only lead to more human suffering and chaos.’ 

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said the ‘shockingly ill-conceived idea will go far further in inflicting suffering while wasting huge amounts of public money’. 

Rwanda, with a population of 13million, needs more workers and has in recent years resettled more than 100,000 refugees. In a different approach, the European Union is developing a network of accommodation centre for asylum seekers on a number of Greek islands. 

The first £37million facility, on Samos, opened in September and can house 3,000 people in rows of container-style accommodation units. 

Elsewhere, Home Office officials have closely studied a similar scheme for offshore processing which is being set up by Denmark. 

Danish parliamentarians have approved a change to their law which would allow asylum applications to be considered in a third country. Last year there were reports that it was looking at signing an agreement with the Rwandan government.

Luxury life of ‘despot’ blamed for rights abuses

By Tom Witherow for the Daily Mail

The president of Rwanda has won plaudits from former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron despite being branded a ‘despot’ and blamed for human rights abuses. 

Paul Kagame, 64, has sold Rwanda as a success story in the developing world over three decades. 

He has courted foreign leaders and royalty – including a 2020 meeting with Prince William at Buckingham Palace – to win praise as a dynamic and progressive president. 

His government has also spent millions of pounds brushing up Rwanda’s image by sponsoring Premier League team Arsenal. 

But critics claim he is guilty of murderous authoritarianism which has enabled him to remain in power for 28 years.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and His Wife Jeannette

He led the militia groups who ended the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which saw more than 500,000 people massacred. 

Then US President Bill Clinton said Kagame was ‘one of the greatest leaders of our time’, Lord Blair called him a ‘visionary’, and Mr Cameron said his regime was a ‘role model for development’. 

But in recent years negative stories have over-shadowed his country’s economic success. 

Last December, Paul Rusesabagina – the inspiration for the hero character in Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda – was sentenced to 25 years in prison for allegedly founding a terrorist group. 

Rwanda president Paul Kagame with Arsenal legend Tony Adams in 2014

His family branded it a show trial. The former hotel boss-turned-opposition leader had been praised for shielding thousands of potential genocide victims in 1994. 

But he criticised Rwanda’s human rights abuses after Kagame came to power. 

Kagame’s intelligence services have also been suspected of killing critics abroad, but none of the allegations has been proven. 

When arch-critic Colonel Patrick Karegeya was murdered in a hotel in South Africa in 2014, Kagame said: ‘When you choose to live like a dog, you die like a dog.’ 

A recent book claimed the Metropolitan Police provided protection for Rwandan opposition figures threatened in London. 

Kagame is known for his luxurious lifestyle and travels in a £50million executive jet and an armour-plated Range Rover worth an estimated £300,000. 

His son Ivan sits on the board of Rwanda’s investment agency and lives in a £5million Beverly Hills mansion.

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