Campaigners have slammed “cruel and senseless asylum plans” as the first individuals to be relocated to Rwanda will be informed this week.
The government announced that the first cohort of migrants will this week be informed they will be sent to Rwanda, under a new policy.
Charities have said the plans place those fleeing persecution in danger, while the government maintains that Rwanda is a safe country.
However, home secretary Priti Patel said she would “not be deterred” and the partnership with Rwanda would “break the people smugglers’ business model and prevent loss of life.”
The first flights under the scheme are anticipated to take place “in the coming months,” the home office said on Tuesday.
Ministers acknowledged that lawyers working for individuals notified are “expected to lodge claims to prevent removal.”
In response to the government ploughing ahead with the controversial policy, campaigners have called for humanitarian visas or pathways to re-join relatives in the UK.
Ministers did not seem interested in “practical steps they could take to protect people,” Paola Uccellari, the interim chief exec of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) said.
The plans were “cruel and senseless”, Uccellari added. “No-one seeking safety in the UK should be facing deportation to a country half way round the world.”
Individuals would be placed at “grave risk” by the relocation plans, particularly LGBTQ+ people and victims of trafficking and torture, the group said.