The UK will send the first group of asylum seekers to Rwanda on June 14, as part of its policy designed to break people-smuggling networks, and stem the flow of migrants across the Channel.
In April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to send some of the people who seek asylum in Britain to Rwanda in a plan that drew criticism from both within and outside Johnson’s Conservative Party as well as from many charities.
The Home Office on Tuesday said that an initial group of migrants have started to receive formal letters telling them they are being sent to Rwanda to “rebuild their lives in safety.
Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement that “the Removal Direction confirms that they will be going to Rwanda and the first flight was expected to take place on June 14.’’
Rwanda shows the hostels that will house migrants sent from the UK in Kigali.
The plan to send unwanted asylum seekers to Africa came as Johnson was facing the growing threat of a confidence vote.
Some of his lawmakers said they have lost faith in his leadership over illegal parties held at his residence during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Concerns over immigration were a big factor in the 2016 Brexit vote and Johnson has been under pressure to deliver on his promise to “take back control” of Britain’s borders.
In 2021, more than 28,000 migrants and refugees made the crossing from mainland Europe to Britain, mostly in small boats.
The government has dismissed criticism that the policy lacks compassion, saying it was worse to encourage a system where many asylum seekers are exploited by people smugglers.
The Home Office did not say how many asylum seekers would be on the first flight to Rwanda.