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Asylum plan in Rwanda: Chronology of the government policy of deportation of migrants

The interior minister doubled down on the government’s commitment to Rwanda’s deportation policy during a trip to the country this weekend.

During her visit, Suella Braverman is due to meet President Paul Kagame and his counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.

This is how the events leading up to the trip unfolded.


April 14: Following a drastic increase in the number of people crossing the English Channel, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a plan to deport migrants arriving in small boats to Rwanda to have their applications processed. He says it would act as “a very considerable deterrent”.

June 15: The first deportation flight to Rwanda is canceled a few minutes before takeoff following a decision by a judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

August 23: The Ministry of Defense says 1,295 migrants made the crossing in 27 boats, another new record that remains the highest figure for a single day.

August 25: Former Home Secretary Priti Patel announces an agreement with the Albanian government to reduce the number of migrants from that country, as they make up 60% of all those arriving in the UK.

November 14: The new Interior Minister, Suella Braverman, signs an agreement with the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmian, authorizing British officers to join French patrols on the beaches.

Interior Minister Suella Braverman visits a new training academy under construction in Kigali (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

(PA wire)

November 23: Ms Braverman admits the government has ‘failed to control our borders’, but tells MPs they are determined to ‘solve’ the problem, following criticism of overcrowding at the Manston treatment center in Kent.

December 14: Four people die while 39 others are rescued after their canoe sinks in the English Channel.

December 19: The High Court rules that the government’s Rwandan policy is legal, but orders that the cases of the first eight deportees be reconsidered.

31 December: 45,755 migrants crossed the Channel during the year, according to government figures.


January 4: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces that legislation to tackle the migrant crisis is one of five key priorities for his term.

March 7: Ms Braverman tells MPs the Illegal Migration Bill will impose a legal obligation to remove those who arrive in the country illegally, preventing them from seeking asylum in the UK.

March 10: Tensions rise as Mr Sunak defends the policy as ‘the right approach’ against criticism from sports pundit Gary Lineker that led to a high-profile impartiality row at the BBC and many colleagues threatening to boycott Match Of The Day in solidarity with the presenter.

March 12: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt does not rule out the possibility of children being detained under new plans, which would see those crossing the English Channel eligible for asylum only in a ‘safe’ third country like Rwanda.

Interior Minister Suella Braverman says she wants to start deportations to Rwanda by summer

(PA wire)

March 13: The plan draws criticism from former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who says it is “not enough” to send people to seek asylum in Rwanda and warns that the UK is “closing the door” to the victims of modern slavery as it stands today.

March 14: A High Court judge rules that asylum seekers facing deportation to Rwanda can appeal Interior Ministry decisions over alleged errors in considering whether resettlement poses a risk to their human rights, dealing another blow to the plan.

March 17: Ms Braverman doubles down on the deportation policy during a visit to Rwanda despite the plan remaining embroiled in legal battles, saying the £140m deal will be a ‘powerful deterrent’ for those trying to cross the English Channel.

March 18: Ms Braverman tours potential migrant accommodation after the Rwandan government bought the land, before meeting President Paul Kagame and his counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.

The Independent Gt

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