A recent article in the NYT has exposed three misconceptions about the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
1. Claim :The Rwanda policy will significantly reduce levels of immigration to the UK.
Fact: Asylum seekers only make up around six per cent of overall migration to Britain. Most migrants come here to work and study. The top three sources of ‘legal’ migrants in 2022 were India, Nigeria and China. Refugees from Ukraine and Hong Kong have also been admitted and the number of asylum applications is still below its peak in 2002.
2. Claim:The plan will ‘stop the boats’ and deter refugees from heading to Britain.
Fact: Many experts say there is little evidence that it will provide a deterrent.
Desperate people fleeing war and persecution will take huge risks to reach safety. the small reduction in small boat arrivals is thought to have been caused by the return of Albanian asylum seekers.
3. Claim: the new law will end legal challenges to the plan.
Fact: Many disagree, including the UN and international legal experts.
Passing the ‘Safety of Rwanda Bill’ does not automatically make it legal to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. Parliament cannot legislate away UK obligations under international law, such as the European convention on human rights and the UN Refugee Convention of 1951.
The UN refugee agency has said that, despite the proposed legislation, deportation to Rwanda remains ‘incompatible’ with international protections for refugees.