Asylum Seekers: Relocation to Rwanda

Home Department – in the House of Commons at on 25 April 2022.

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Photo of Bambos Charalambous Bambos Charalambous Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)

What estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the Government’s policy to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department

Our world-leading migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda will be a major boost to Rwanda and allow us to focus our efforts on people in need, not those who have the ability to pay people smugglers to make dangerous, illegal journeys from safe countries such as France.

Photo of Bambos Charalambous Bambos Charalambous Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)

The policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is unworkable and unethical, and it will either cost billions or result in so few people being sent to Rwanda that it will not act as a deterrent to all the evil people smugglers. Will the Home Secretary tell me how much the policy will cost per person, or what her maximum budget is?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department

We have discussed this several times in the House in the last week. The UK is providing an initial investment of £120 million of support for the partnership as part of the new economic transformation and integration fund. I heard what the hon. Member’s party said—Labour Front Bench Members were chuntering about this last week—in calling the policy extortionate and unworkable. Of course, that is completely illogical because if it is not workable, it will not cost the British taxpayer money.

Photo of Scott Benton Scott Benton Conservative, Blackpool South

The Home Secretary deserves immense credit for her plan and her robust approach to deterring illegal immigration. The fact that we have not seen any small boat crossings in the last three days is evidence that some of the pull factors are being removed. Does she agree that if that trend continues, the cost of the policy will take care of itself?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I thank my hon. Friend for his question and comments. First, Labour is still trying to work out that doing nothing is not an option at all, because people have died. Secondly, the policy is exactly that: it is all about deterrence as well as ensuring that we can provide the right safe and humane approach for people who need our asylum system while cracking down on people smuggling gangs.