'No possibility' Ukrainian refugees would be sent to Rwanda for processing, says Downing Street 2 months ago

'No possibility' Ukrainian refugees would be sent to Rwanda for processing, says Downing Street

Spokesperson was not able to confirm which nationalities would be deported under the scheme

A Downing Street spokesperson has said there is "no possibility" a Ukrainian refugee who had arrived illegally in Britain would be deported to the UK's Rwanda detention centre for processing.

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Ukrainians "would be able to access safe and legal routes," they said. "The Rwanda scheme is only relevant for people making the crossing from northern France."

Asked if a Ukrainian that travelled across the Channel would be eligible for asylum in the UK, a Downing Street spokesperson said "no Ukrainian fleeing Russian violence would need to take that route."

The spokesperson was unable to confirm which nationalities would qualify for deportation.

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Under new guidance single men found to have arrived “illegally” in the UK since January 1st would be flown to Rwanda in east Africa to process their asylum application.

The new plan would mean people who have arrived on small boats from the Channel, or stowed in a refrigerated lorry, would be deemed “inadmissible” to claim asylum in Britain.

Currently, most refugees are not able to make an asylum claim until they have arrived in the UK.

While this is the first “offshoring” plan of its kind to be actioned in Britain, Australia have been deporting asylum seekers to detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island since the early 2000s.

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Research from the University of New South Wales found the Australian system cost approximately £4.3 billion since July 2013.

According to Tory MP and former Brexit minister David Davis, directly applying the cost of the Australian offshoring system to the number of migrants who crossed the Channel in 2021 would cost the British taxpayer more than £32.4 billion.

A bill more than 23 times higher than the current system.

Over the weekend the head of the Church of England, Justin Welby, said plans to ship refugees 4,000 miles from where they sought sanctuary did not “stand the judgment of God”.

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Speaking during his annual Easter Sunday sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury said Britain was “subcontracting our responsibilities” and the “opposite of the nature of God”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel responded through a joint article written in The Times with Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta.

They said: “We are taking bold and innovative steps and it's surprising that those institutions that criticise the plans, fail to offer their own solutions.

“Allowing this suffering to continue is no longer an option for any humanitarian nation.”

It’s thought the strict refugee policy has been influenced by Australian former minister Alexander Downer, who was appointed by the Home Office to oversee the UK’s response to small boat crossings in the English Channel.

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Downer, who backed Australia’s widely criticised programme of offshore asylum processing, recently featured in a Home Office video promoting Britain’s “new plan for immigration”.

 

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