No evidence UK Rwanda asylum scheme deters migrants say MPs

Boat migrants Image Sean Aiden Calderbank/Shutterstock.com

There is no evidence the UK Rwanda asylum scheme has or will deter migrants with the policy seemingly having gone unnoticed by those trying to make the crossing.

MP Diana Johnson, Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, speaking to the BBC on Monday, July 18 said that the policy “appears to have gone unnoticed” by migrants.

The policy, touted by the government as a world-leading plan to deal with unwanted migration, has not only faltered given challenges in the courts but has also done little to stem the flow of those trying to reach the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the UK Rwanda asylum scheme in April saying action was needed to stop “vile people smugglers”, however it is has done little to reduce the number trying to make it to the UK with as many as 400 people trying to cross the English Channel daily.

A report issued by the committee said: “There is no clear evidence that the policy will deter migrant crossings – numbers have significantly increased since it was announced in April.”

The report acknowledges that the increase may be down to traffickers telling migrants to make the journey now to avoid the possibility of being sent to Rwanda. It says: “One explanation for [the increase in crossings] may be attributed to scaremongering from people traffickers, that because of new regulations coming in across the Channel it will be much harder to access the UK in future, so they had better get on with it.”

With more than 60,000 migrants expected to try and make it to the UK this year, the committee said: “there is no magical single solution to dealing with irregular migration.”

The committee went on to call for a: “Detailed, evidence-driven, fully costed and fully tested policy initiatives” that achieve “sustainable incremental change,” and not headline-grabbing initiatives that are not evidenced based.

They also called on the government to make more of an effort to gain cooperation from France, who is in their words “seemingly reluctant” to deal with the issue of migrants leaving their shores for the UK.

In response the Home Office has defended the UK Rwanda asylum scheme: “Our New Plan for Immigration will bring in the biggest package of reforms in decades, allowing us to support those in genuine need while preventing illegal and dangerous journeys into the UK, and breaking the business model of vile people smugglers.”.

The department also said they were implementing new technology and recruiting more personnel that would help to speed up the process and at the same time improve the decision-making around whether the person is deported or not.

­­Although the Home Affairs Committee has said there is no evidence that the UK Rwanda asylum scheme deters migrants, there is little sign of a change in direction for now. That might change depending on who becomes the country’s next prime minister.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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