£169k per person to send migrants to rwanda home office
According to government analysis, the cost of sending just one asylum seeker to Rwanda could be close to £170,000, which has immediately rekindled sour arguments over the divisive plan.
According to a long-awaited “impact assessment” of the illegal immigration bill, ministers are unaware of the total costs associated with putting plans in place to detain and deport anyone who enters the UK illegally.
On top of other issues, the former immigration minister and current chair of a Commons select committee said on Tuesday that the cost did not seem cost-effective and that the programme was “difficult to justify.”
“The value for money question is an important one, but it’s concerning when the Home Office are saying that they can’t be certain that these figures are accurate and they are predicated on the Rwandan scheme acting as a deterrent and we have not seen it acting as deterrent to date,” said Caroline Nokes, the chair of the women and equalities committee.
The government’s flagship policy, intended to “stop the boats,” one of Rishi Sunak’s five main promises, is entering a crucial week.
The bill will be put on hold by peers when it returns to the upper chamber on Wednesday.
The court of appeal will likely make a decision on whether it is appropriate to send women and children who are seeking asylum to Rwanda on Thursday.
The assessment, according to the head of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, failed to account for the full costs and effects of the government’s suggested legislation.
“The bill, if passed in its current form, would prevent tens of thousands of refugees from receiving the protection to which they are legally entitled. It would be difficult, expensive in the billions of pounds, and have no effect on easing the current crisis and strains on the asylum system, he said.
The home secretary, Suella Braverman, stated that the analysis looking at the costs of the illegal immigration bill showed the government would save at least £106,000 for each person discouraged from entering the UK illegally.
“I urge MPs and peers to support the bill to stop the boats, so we can crack down on people-smuggling gangs while bringing our asylum system back into balance,” she said. “Our impact assessment shows that doing nothing is not an option.
However, the assessment also stated that, based on a previous government programme, the estimated cost of relocating a person to the central African nation or another third country is £169,000.
An estimated unit cost of £169,000 is discovered for relocating an individual, according to the statement. Only those who enter the UK illegally will be charged this fee. The amount is based on a “theoretical exercise on costs under the bill,” according to a Home Office source.
According to the assessment, it is “not possible to estimate with precision the level of deterrence” that the bill will have.
According to academic opinion, there is “little to no evidence” that changing policies prevent people from fleeing their home countries and seeking asylum.
Instead, it was acknowledged that having a common language, culture, and ties to family were “strong factors” in determining the final destination.
In addition to the £140 million payment made as part of a contract signed under Boris Johnson’s administration, the Home Office has declined to make public the payments negotiated with the Rwandan government, citing “commercial sensitivities.”
The assessment stated capacity limitations meant the illegal migration bill might only be applied to a portion of arrivals, undermining the government’s plan to detain and deport everyone who enters the country illegally.
According to the report, this “could result in increased costs associated with bailing out people and providing non-detained housing, a reduced deterrent effect observed, and further process issues like migrants fleeing while not being detained.”
On Monday, Braverman’s proposal to house asylum seekers on barges was dismissed as “unworkable” because she had missed the deadline for putting the first vessel into service.
Despite the home secretary’s assurance that the Bibby Stockholm accommodation vessel would be in the dock a week ago, it was still not in Portland Port, Dorset, where it would house about 500 people.
Peers threatened to postpone the bill until after the government had made its financial impact facts and figures public before releasing the document, which led to its release.
The legality of the government’s plans to deport people seeking asylum, including women and children, to Rwanda is pending a court of appeals decision.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is among the organisations that have warned that the proposals violate international law and set a dangerous precedent for how other nations will handle refugees.
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, called the assessment a “complete joke” and warned that the illegal immigration bill could cost the public purse even more money.
By its own admission, the failing Conservative government is completely ignorant of the cost of this bill and the effects of any of its policies.The Home Office’s few statistics demonstrate how disorganised and unworkable their plans are. It implies that Rishi Sunak’s pledge to deport every asylum seeker who enters the UK would cost billions of pounds more to implement than the dysfunctional asylum system in place today under the Tories, Cooper said.
Shami Chakrabarti, a human rights attorney who has led Lords opposition to the bill, likened the evaluation to a press release. Is this the eagerly anticipated document, so meticulously prepared that it could not be made public at any point during the House of Commons’ consideration of such a contentious bill?The so-called impact assessment is comparable in length, tone, and content to a Home Office press release. The delivery plan is still “being developed,” the focus is solely on deterrence, and international law is completely disregarded, she said.