UK Prime Minister Announces Plan to End Rwanda Scheme

By Legal Wires 5 Minutes Read

The newly elected United Kingdom Prime Minister Keir Starmer announced on Saturday that his government would terminate the Rwanda scheme implemented by the previous government.

During his first news conference since taking office, he declared to terminate the Rwanda deportation scheme. Starmer emphasized his commitment to end what he described as ineffective and inhumane immigration measures. He said “The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It’s never been a deterrent,” He pointed to record numbers of migrants crossing the English Channel in the first half of 2024 as evidence of the policy’s failure. “The chances were of not going and not being processed, and staying here, therefore, in paid-for accommodation for a very, very long time. It’s had the complete opposite effect, and I’m not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don’t act as a deterrent,” he added.

‘Dead and buried’ UK Prime Minister says Rwanda migration scheme will be scrapped Source: Evening Standard

Last year in 2023 the UK Supreme Court ruled that the government’s Rwanda plan was unlawful, the policy violated Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), under the European Convention on Human Rights, deeming it incompatible with the human rights standards that UK is obligated to uphold. However, the High Court recently ruled the scheme lawful before the general election.

In the case brought by the FDA trade union against the Cabinet Office, Mr Justice Chamberlain dismissed the challenge and ruled that civil servants can refuse to follow instructions that contradict domestic law. However, there is no obligation to refuse instructions deemed unlawful under international law. He stated that “any such rule would make it practically impossible for a minister to act contrary to international law.” Additionally, Parliament declared Rwanda a safe country in April 2024. Nonetheless, the new government has pledged to scrap the scheme completely.

The Rwanda scheme refers to an immigration policy aimed at addressing illegal immigration and asylum seekers. Announced in April 2022, the policy involves relocating certain asylum seekers who arrive illegally in the UK to Rwanda, where their asylum claims would be processed. The UK government argues that the scheme would deter illegal immigration and human trafficking by providing a clear consequence for entering the UK through unauthorized means.

Under the agreement, individuals whose asylum claims are deemed genuine would be granted refugee status in Rwanda, not the UK. The UK would fund the relocation and settlement process, with Rwanda committing to ensuring the safety and welfare of the relocated individuals.

Since its inception, the scheme has faced significant criticism from human rights organizations, legal experts, and political opponents, who argue that it undermines the rights of asylum seekers and may violate international law. There are also concerns about Rwanda’s capacity to handle the influx of asylum seekers and the conditions they would face there. The policy has been the subject of legal challenges and widespread debate within the UK and internationally.

Legal Wires

Team @LegalWires

    Related Posts