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The government denies losing track of thousands of potential deportees from Rwanda

The government denies losing track of thousands of potential deportees from Rwanda
  • Written by Harry Varley and Paul Seddon
  • BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Arrested Rwandan deportation flight, June 2022

The UK Home Office has admitted that most asylum seekers initially due to be deported to Rwanda could not be located immediately.

Home Office documents reveal that 5,700 asylum seekers have been identified in the initial group to be sent to the East African country.

But the documents say that “only 2,143 people are still reporting to the Interior Ministry and their place of detention can be determined.”

A government source denied that the remaining 3,557 were missing.

The source said they faced looser reporting restrictions, and insisted the Home Office was in contact with everyone who was within scope of being deported to Rwanda.

While some asylum seekers stay in Home Office accommodation, such as hotels or detention facilities, many do not. There are different ways asylum seekers must inform the Home Office. Some have to do this in person while others can report digitally and face less stringent requirements.

A government source admitted that some may have fled before being arrested.

The policy document sets out details of the 5,700 people Rwanda has already agreed to accept “in principle”.

Those identified in the initial group all arrived in the UK illegally between January 2022 and June 2023.

This means that no one who has arrived by small boat since last summer will be taken on the first flights to Rwanda.

Updates contained in “Equality impact assessmentHe also raised the possibility that pressure from MPs could delay the deportation of an asylum seeker.

The document said, “It is a long-term parliamentary agreement that stipulates the suspension of the representation of representatives until the case is examined and a response is issued to the representative.”

He added that given the “new nature” of the Rwanda scheme, individual cases could “attract significant attention from representatives, and responders may be overloaded with cases, causing deportation to be delayed or canceled pending a response.”

An Interior Ministry spokesman said social workers had been appointed to respond quickly to deputies.

A Home Office spokesperson added: “As the Prime Minister has made clear, we will be launching flights to Rwanda over the next 10 to 12 weeks.”

“In preparation for the flights, we have identified the initial group that will be flown to Rwanda and we have hundreds of dedicated caseworkers ready to handle any appeals.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further on operational activity.”

The people are scheduled to be detained within weeks before the first flights.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has promised the measures will be implemented by July, after legislation allowing the removals came into effect last week.

The scheme is a key part of his major pledge to stop small boats crossing the English Channel.

Canal crossings continued on Monday after no migrants were detected on Sunday. Home Office figures show more than 7,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year.