An analysis of government data found that less than 200 people would have come to Rwanda last year without permission.
The Refugee Council said 172 people could be sent to the East African country if an agreement was reached. He estimates that this number is unlikely to be much higher this year.
The figures call into question Boris Johnson’s claim that “tens of thousands” of people who arrived in the United Kingdom without permission could be given a one-way ticket to Rwanda.
Persons eligible for deportation to Rwanda will be considered “inadmissible” under the rules of the British Asylum System. The rules introduced in January 2021 apply to people who came to the United Kingdom through another “safe” country, such as France, and therefore their application for asylum is considered their responsibility.
So far, only 2% of the people covered by the rules are finally served with decisions classifying them as inadmissible, according to Interior Ministry figures revealed by the Refugee Council.
Of the 8,593 people who were assessed by the Ministry of the Interior under the rules last year, only 172 would be considered inadmissible, according to the analysis.
Johnson said this month that he expected many people to be flown 4,500 miles to Rwanda. “The agreement we have reached is unlimited and Rwanda will have the capacity to relocate tens of thousands of people in the coming years,” he said.
Government plans to punish people who have been forced to travel irregularly to Britain could lead to the conviction and imprisonment of thousands of asylum seekers.
According to the Nationality and Borders Act, which is in the final stages of parliamentary deliberations, the analysis suggests that 19,288 people could be convicted and imprisoned each year for arriving in the UK irregularly.
The proposal was widely condemned as inhumane, illegal, impracticable and disproportionately expensive. Critics included conservative MPs and colleagues, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said on Easter Sunday that the plan “would not stand up to God’s judgment.”
Enver Solomon, director general of the Refugee Council, said: “This analysis shows the real impact of this law on desperate men, women and children who are simply trying to find safety when fleeing the dangers of war and persecution.
“Punishing people, treating them as criminals and human cargo to be deported to Rwanda, is not only inhuman, cruel and disgusting, but it does not address the reasons why people are taking dangerous journeys to find safety in the UK. That discourages them from coming to this country, but it will only lead to more human suffering and chaos – with a huge potential cost of almost a billion pounds each year. “
If the law enters into law, it will create a new crime that will apply to anyone caught in the English Channel without prior permission to enter the United Kingdom. People prosecuted under the new law face up to four years in prison.
The Refugee Council used data from the Ministry of the Interior and the Public Prosecutor’s Office to estimate that, according to the changes, up to 19,288 people could be convicted and imprisoned each year. It is estimated that the cost of prosecuting and imprisoning them could reach £ 835 million a year.
The estimate is based on the number of people crossing the English Channel last year, assuming the government will try to prosecute anyone who arrives illegally, and a conviction rate of 69% in the last five years for similar crimes under current law.
A Home Office spokesman said: “This leading global partnership on migration and economic development will overhaul our broken asylum system, which currently costs British taxpayers £ 1.5 billion a year – the highest amount in two decades.
“Under this agreement, Rwanda will process claims in accordance with national and international human rights law. This means that those who arrive dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily may be relocated to have their asylum applications examined and, if recognized as refugees, may live there.
“We do not accept the figures derived from this analysis. The agreement is unlimited in terms of the number of people who can be sent to Rwanda.