Campaign Response: Illegal Immigration - Rwanda Scheme

I have been contacted by constituents about Illegal Immigration - Rwanda Scheme.

As the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, I have included below my response:

I welcome the Government making significant progress in stopping the arrival of small boats, with crossings down by a third. In 2023, the Government prevented 26,000 crossing attempts, seen the small boats deal with Albania lead to a 90 per cent fall in crossings, and cleared the asylum legacy backlog. Being able to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda is an essential deterrent and part of our full toolbox to stop the boats.

I understand the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal which means the Government cannot yet remove people to Rwanda. I can assure you the Government does respect the Supreme Court but its judgment does not weaken the resolve to deter people from making these illegal, dangerous and unnecessary journeys.

As such, I welcome the Home Secretary signing a new joint treaty with his Rwandan counterpart to strengthen the UK and Rwanda's Migration and Economic Partnership and directly addressing the concerns of the Supreme Court. The agreement is part of the Government's plans to ensure illegal migrants can lawfully be relocated to Rwanda under its ambition to stop the boats, ensuring people know that if they come to the UK illegally, they cannot stay here. The landmark treaty is binding in international law and ensures that people relocated to Rwanda under the partnership are not at risk of being returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened – an act known as refoulement.  

I am aware, to further bolster assurances, that relocated individuals will not be returned. Under the treaty, Rwanda’s asylum system will be strengthened through a new appeal body. The appeal body will consist of a Rwandan and other Commonwealth national co-president, as well as judges of a mixture of nationalities with asylum and humanitarian protection expertise (appointed by the co-presidents) to hear individual appeals. Further, this treaty comes together with new legislation that has been introduced to Parliament so it can be scrutinised to confirm that, with this new treaty, Rwanda is a safe country.

Thank you to those constituents who took the time to contact me about this issue.