The Safety of Rwanda bill has finally become law, after MPs rejected all the amendments proposed by the Lords, overriding the supreme court judgment that Rwanda is not a safe country.

Huge questions remain over the new law.

Is it legal?

The UN and the Council of Europe Commission for Human Rights insist it breaks international law. UN figures say removals to Rwanda violate internationally protected human rights and court orders. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Michael O’Flaherty, states that the new act “raises major issues about the human rights of asylum seekers and the rule of law more generally.”

He has said:

“I am concerned that the Rwanda bill enables the implementation of a policy of removing people to Rwanda without any prior assessment of their asylum claims by the UK authorities in the majority of cases,” adding that it “significantly excludes the ability of UK courts to fully and independently scrutinise the issues brought before them”.

The Lords have also pointed out that deciding to rule Rwanda unsafe would require yet more legislation.

Is it practical?

Andrew Mitchell, the deputy foreign minister, has defended the scheme, claiming that Kigali is “safer than London”. Yet two years ago, he attacked the project as “impractical, likely to be ineffective and, above all, extremely expensive”. His article for the Conservative Home site instead proposed workable and humane solutions such as speeding up the asylum claims process and introducing safe and legal routes.

We do not yet know how the refugees are to be transported. The government claims that it has recruited private airlines, but these face significant reputational damage if they cooperate with the scheme. The UN says that companies and pilots will be breaking international law if they agree to fly the planes.

How much will it cost?

The government’s own auditors have estimated the cost for the first 300  refugees to be £1.8 million per person. The Refugee Council believes accommodation costs for refugees detained and awaiting deportation will rise to £6.2bn per year. It says 115,575 asylum seekers could be isolated in “permanent limbo” by the end of this year. The latest Home Office data shows that there are currently almost 52,000 asylum seekers forbidden to make asylum claims because they arrived “illegally”.

Do the Rwanda provisions make sense?

The home office has helped to provide training and funding for Rwandan judges and caseworkers to process asylum claims quickly. Yet there seems to be little point in assessing applications, as the home office says that people not granted asylum in Rwanda will “instead be granted permanent residence so that they are able to stay and integrate into Rwandan society”.

Will it deter migrants?

Matthew Rycroft, the most senior civil servant in the Home Office who has overseen the scheme for two years, has previously told MPs he did not have evidence to show that it had a deterrent effect that would make it value for money.