New UK premier pledges to push migration deal with Rwanda

Tuesday November 01 2022
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak, whom the British have elected their first Indian and Hindu Prime Minister. PHOTO | LEON NEAL | VARIOUS SOURCES | AFP

By Ange Iliza

The UK’s new Prime Minister is expected to continue supporting the Rwanda migration deal a week before a judicial review decides it fate.

The new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took office last week after winning majority support from his Conservative Party, preceding Lizz Truss who had pledged to make the deal happen.

UK’s past Prime Ministers, Boris Johnson, Lizz Truss, and Home Secretaries, Priti Patel, and Suella Braverman have all supported the heavily criticised deal of outsourcing illegal migrants to Rwanda.

The $150 million migration deal that has dragged on for seven months was signed by UK’s former Home Minister Priti Patel and Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, Vincent Biruta in April.

The deal was supposed to take elect immediately but was frustrated with criticism by activists and rights organizations. The first flight for the first batch of asylum seekers who were supposed to depart the UK in June was canceled due to a last-minute ruling from the European Court of Human Rights.

Later in August, some asylum seekers in hotels received letters from the Home Secretary department telling them their asylum claims are deemed inadmissible for consideration in the UK and that the government intends to send them to Rwanda to have their claims processed there.


Since June, the Divisional Court in London has been hearing a case by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and six individual asylum seekers, a trade union, and two immigration-specialist NGOs.

The court case raised challenges both to the lawfulness of the deal to deport the individual claimants to Rwanda and to assess Rwanda as being a safe country for asylum seekers given the country’s history with human rights violation allegations.

Judgment is not expected until November 2022, as other claims raising additional challenges to the implementation of the UK-Rwanda deal will be heard in early October by the same Court, with judgment to be handed down at the same time.

“We remain committed to our world-leading Migration Partnership with Rwanda, which will see those who come to the UK through dangerous, illegal, and unnecessary routes relocated to Rwanda to rebuild their lives there," said Ms. Truss.