UK Rwanda Bill Explained | Who Will Be Sent to Rwanda?

UK Rwanda bill


In April 2022, the UK government announced a plan to relocate certain asylum seekers to Rwanda to process their claims. The UK Rwanda Bill’s fundamental goal is to deter illegal immigration by processing asylum seeker’s claims in Rwanda rather than in the UK. If asylum seeker’s claims were to be successful, they could be granted refugee status in Rwanda and if not, they may apply to settle on other grounds or seek asylum in another safe third country. This policy specifically targets individuals who entered the UK “illegally” after January 1, 2022, from countries considered safe, such as France.

The Rwanda Bill, however, will not relocate immigrants who have entered the UK via any of the various legal routes, such as a spouse visa, work visa, visit visa etc…

The Bill has raised significant human rights concerns, particularly regarding the safety of Rwanda as a country and the subsequent treatment of transferred individuals. With the UK Supreme Court ruling the initial plan unlawful due to potential breaches in the European Convention on Human Rights, the government has passed new legislation to support its implementation.

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Who Will Be Sent to Rwanda?

The Rwanda bill outlines specific criteria for determining which asylum seekers are considered “illegal” and therefore eligible to be transferred to Rwanda. This will primarily include individuals who have entered the UK through unauthorised, illegal routes after January 1, 2022, mainly by crossing from safe countries such as France by boat via the English Channel. The government’s justification of their bill is that it will deter dangerous and illegal entries into the UK.

Exemptions have been specified for certain groups to mitigate potential humanitarian concerns. Children under the age of 18 are excluded from this Rwanda plan. Despite these provisions, the scope of this policy is quite wide and will include essentially everyone who enters the UK illegally, bar unoccupied minors

The initial group targeted for relocation is around 5,700 individuals, however, some challenges such as lost contact with over 3,500 of these asylum seekers have led to some enforcement efforts. 

How Will the Rwanda Bill Impact Asylum Seekers Who Come to the UK?

The relocation of asylum seekers to Rwanda has raised significant concerns about their safety and the overall fairness of the process. Critics of the plan point out the potential risk of refoulement, where individuals might be sent back to countries where they face serious threats to their lives or freedom. This concern is highlighted in the Supreme Court’s observations about Rwanda’s questionable human rights history.

Although the UK government asserts that Rwanda is a safe third country, the reality on the ground may present various challenges and cause Life in Rwanda for transferred asylum seekers to be very uncertain, from accessing basic necessities to integrating into a new society. These individuals might struggle with legal and social barriers in a foreign land, complicating their ability to build a stable and secure life.

Furthermore, the voluntary removals program introduced alongside the transfer plan offers up to £3,000 to migrants whose claims are rejected, encouraging them to relocate to Rwanda without compulsion. This program demonstrates the complexity and contentious nature of the policy, aiming to provide incentives for voluntary departure over forced transfers.

The UK Rwanda Bill has faced significant legal scrutiny since its introduction. The Supreme Court initially deemed the plan unlawful, citing violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The primary concern with the Rwanda Bill was the potential for genuine refugees to be returned to countries where they could face persecution or other serious harms like destitution as a direct consequence of the non-refoulement principle protected under international law.

In response to the legal rebuttals, the UK government passed new legislation specifically designed to circumvent previous court rulings by affirming Rwanda as a safe country for asylum purposes. This bill notably instructs courts to overlook certain sections of the Human Rights Act and other international legal standards that could prevent deportations to Rwanda. The move has been widely criticised for potentially undermining the UK’s commitments to international law and human rights protections.

Our experts predict more legal challenges, as both individual asylum seekers and human rights organisations prepare to contest the legality of their deportations. The government has made provisions for handling these challenges by allocating more resources and powers to the Home Sectary, which could mean that the Rwanda Bill will be contested for a long time before the forceful deportations actually begin.

How Primus Solicitors Can Assist with Legal Entry to the UK

If you’re considering moving to the UK and don’t want to risk being deported to Rwanda under the new Rwanda Bill rules, Primus Solicitors is here to help. Our experienced team of immigration solicitors understands the complexities of UK immigration laws and can offer detailed support to help you obtain a valid UK visa, avoiding any risk of deportation.

Whether you need assistance with obtaining a work visa, family visa, or any other type of UK entry clearance, we can provide expert guidance every step of the way. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and start your journey to a new life in the UK today!


Rwanda Bill Key Points Takeaway Table
Criteria for Relocation Asylum seekers deemed “illegal” for entering the UK after January 1, 2022, mainly via unauthorised routes, are targeted for relocation to Rwanda. The only exemptions that exist are for minors under 18. 
Safety and Fairness Concerns Critics raise concerns about potential refoulement, sending individuals back to countries where they face threats. Rwanda’s human rights history prompts scepticism about its designation as a safe third country. The uncertainty of life in Rwanda, from basic necessities to integration, complicates the situation for transferred asylum seekers.
Legal Controversy The Supreme Court initially ruled the Rwanda bill as unlawful due to potential breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The UK government responded with new legislation affirming Rwanda as a safe country for asylum, despite criticism for potentially undermining international law and human rights protections.
Impact on Asylum Seekers Asylum seekers facing potential deportation to Rwanda may seek legal assistance to navigate UK immigration laws and obtain valid visas, thus avoiding the risk of deportation under the Rwanda Bill rules.
Financial Backing The UK government commits significant funding to implement the transfers, potentially saving on domestic asylum processing costs in the long term.

The UK Rwanda Bill is a large shift in the UK’s approach to handling asylum seekers and immigration in general. This legislation has caused significant debate over its ethical and practical implications, given the profound impact on the lives of those it targets. The plan’s execution involves not only logistical and legal challenges but also profound human rights considerations.

The plan has substantial financial backing, with the UK committing millions in funding to implement the transfers and potentially save on domestic asylum processing costs in the long term.