British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Rwanda’s plans as part of a crackdown on smuggling routes across the English Channel. Under the plan, which was passed into law late last month, most immigrants who migrate illegally will be deemed inadmissible to seek asylum because their journey will take them through safer countries before they arrive in Britain.
Some conservative lawmakers are concerned that the decision to lift visa requirements for Ukrainians following the Russian invasion of Ireland could create another gateway for those who do not meet British security checks or who are waiting for British visas. Ireland has an open border with Britain.
Britain will allow asylum seekers to fly to Rwanda to cut off illegal sea crossings
During a selection committee hearing on Wednesday, Dan Hobbes, director of the British Home Office’s shelter, protection and enforcement, was asked if undocumented Ukrainians traveling from Ireland to Northern Ireland would be eligible for the Rwanda plan, to which he replied: “Depending on personal circumstances, they Unacceptable “may not meet the criteria.”
Stuart C. MacDonald, a member of the Scottish National Party in Parliament, who raised the question, said:
British officials say all unacceptable adults who arrived on January 1 could be sent to Rwanda on a chartered jet, the Washington Post reported earlier. Britain will not send children or unaccompanied minors, or officials will not break up families with children.
A British government minister has repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether Ukrainians who crossed the English Channel by boat could be sent to African countries.
The minister, Tom Persglove, told the selection committee that “there is no reason for a Ukrainian to pay a smuggler to board a small boat and enter the UK.”
“People should use safe and legal routes if they come from Ukraine,” he said, noting that Britain had so far issued about 95,000 visas to Ukrainians.
William Booth in London contributed to this report.