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UK – Rwanda asylum seeker partnership could cost £600 million

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The British government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda might end up costing more than £600 million, equivalent to 900 billion RWF, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

In 2022, the UK signed a 5-year agreement with Rwanda, where Rwanda agreed to accept immigrants from the UK who had entered illegally. The UK has provided support, including £290 million, to help take care of the refugees during their stay in Rwanda.

The Refugee Council has estimated that Rwanda has the capacity to house no more than 10,000 asylum seekers per year.

In December 2023, England won a court case that had prevented the sending of immigrants to Rwanda, as it was argued that Rwanda is not a safe country for immigrants.

The National Audit Office (NAO) on Friday said on top of the £220 million Britain has already paid Rwanda, the government has agreed to pay an extra £150 million over the next three years, and £120 million once the first 300 asylum seekers have been resettled.

The British government will also have to pay Rwanda a further £150,874 to cover costs for each individual resettled, the spending watchdog said in the most detailed financial assessment of the policy so far.

When other costs such as flights are taken into account, the policy would come to more than £600 million ($760 million).

The Rwanda/UK Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) is a bold new approach to deter the dangerous migration journeys causing untold suffering while addressing the global imbalance of economic opportunity, which is the underlying cause of mass irregular migration. The boats will not be completely stopped unless we reverse the lack of opportunity and insecurity in countries around the world.

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