UK Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has announced plans to deport individuals arriving by irregular means to Rwanda before the next general election.
The move is part of the government’s effort to address concerns raised by the UK supreme court’s rejection of its original deportation plans.
Home Secretary James Cleverly arrived in Kigali to sign a revised treaty, replacing an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU), with Rwanda. This initiative aims to create a fundamentally different and improved arrangement, satisfying the supreme court’s concerns.
Jenrick has taken a right-wing stance, expressing frustration with Downing Street’s perceived inaction on migration. He intensified rhetoric against people crossing the Channel in small boats, describing them as “breaking into the country.”
The revised treaty is expected to address issues raised by the supreme court and may involve British lawyers in Rwandan courts.
The UK government, along with Rwanda, plans to produce a dossier refuting concerns about safety, especially focusing on countering the supreme court’s rejection. The revised treaty is intended to be legally binding, offering an alternative to the non-binding nature of the previous MoU.
Additionally, Rwanda could be declared safe for asylum seekers through “emergency” legislation being drafted by the UK government. This legislative move aims to neutralize potential legal challenges and may be introduced as early as this week.
The deportation plan and revised treaty are part of a two-pronged response to the supreme court’s rejection, demonstrating the government’s determination to implement deportation policies.
Jenrick expressed confidence that planes would depart for Kigali before the general election, expected next year. He emphasized the significance of the treaty signed by Home Secretary Cleverly, creating a better arrangement with the Rwandan government.
The UK government’s toughening stance on immigration is evident not only in its deportation plans but also in measures announced by Cleverly to reduce legal entries of workers.
These measures include raising the minimum salary requirement for a skilled worker visa to £38,700 and eliminating the rule allowing certain professions to be hired at 20% below the standard rate.
The government sees these changes as necessary trade-offs to bring down net migration, acknowledging the difficult decisions involved.
Opposition parties, including Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, have raised concerns about the impact of these changes, particularly the increase in the salary requirement.
Cooper suggested that the Migration Advisory Committee, an independent body advising the government on migration issues, should evaluate the increase, especially considering potential impacts on families and relationships.
The outcome of these diplomatic engagements with Rwanda and the implementation of revised deportation plans will significantly influence the UK’s immigration policies and practices.