The person in charge of home affairs said that the number of people being sent out of the country under the agreement with Rwanda may not be very high, depending on other things.
James Cleverly told members of parliament that the deal with the east African country is just one part of the government’s plan to address illegal migration.
Sending back goods to other countries could also make a big difference in the amount sent, he said.
But, he wouldn’t guess how many people would be sent away.
He said the agreement with Rwanda has no limit on the exact number, it depends on a lot of other things.
People are wondering how much the scheme costs because the UK has paid £240 million to Rwanda, but no one has been sent there yet because of legal problems.
Under the five-year plan, the UK will send some asylum seekers to Rwanda. They can then choose to apply for refugee status in Rwanda or seek asylum in another safe country.
MPs passed a law to bring back the scheme after the Supreme Court said it was against the law. But it’s likely to face a lot of disagreement in the House of Lords.
Even though some people disagree, government officials want to start flights by spring. They hope this will stop people from crossing the Channel in small boats.
At a meeting of a government committee, a high-ranking official said that 33,085 people who are seeking asylum have entered the system since new laws about removing illegal arrivals started last July.
‘Create a signal’
When asked how many people could be sent to Rwanda, Mr. Cleverly told the MPs that nearly that many could be sent, but it depends on the situation.
He said it was possible that many people in that group would go back to their own country. And making deals with other countries could also have a big effect.
“It might be if we manage to make return agreements work, and if things change in other countries, the number could be very small,” he said.
He was asked many times, but he wouldn’t give a specific number of deportations needed to scare off potential migrants. However, he did say that they would need to send a strong message to potential migrants.
Home Office officials have said no to approving the plan because they don’t think it’s worth the money. They say they can’t tell how well it will stop migrants until flights to Rwanda start.
Government leaders say that once the program is functioning, it will save money for taxpayers by decreasing the amount of money the government currently spends on housing migrants in UK hotels, which is currently £8 million per day.
However, the department has found it difficult to send back many of the small boat migrants who have come to the UK in the last few years.
Last month, it was found out that only 1,040 people who arrived in small boats and were not foreign criminals have been sent back to their country or another country in the past three years.
Out of these, only 408 people were not from Albania. The government made an agreement with Albania to send them back quickly in late 2022.
As part of the EU, the UK could send back many migrants every year using the Dublin regulations. But the EU has said no to including this in a new agreement.
Labour said the Rwanda policy is just a trick and they will get rid of it if they win the election later this year.
It also wants to make a new agreement with the EU to send migrants back there.
The party has said it might be OK with allowing a certain number of immigrants to come to the UK, but they haven’t said how many.