Illegal Indian migrants stare at deportation as UK passes Rwanda Asylum Bill; all you need to know

Rishi Sunak

UK’s parliament has passed the controversial Rwanda bill that will allow the government to relocate asylum seekers back to the East African nation of Rwanda. The bill aims to dissuade migrants from undertaking dangerous crossings over the English Channel in tiny boats to Britain.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak welcomed the bill, saying “nothing will stand in our way” of getting flights to Rwanda off the ground. He also praised the passing of his “landmark” law as a “fundamental change” in global migration policy. He further confirmed that the deportation flights will begin in July, 2024. 

In a post on X, Sunak wrote, “Start the flights. Stop the boats. That’s what this bill delivers.”

According to reports, the UK administration has boosted the capacity of the detention centres to 2,200 and has assigned 200 specialist caseworkers to speed up the process. Moreover, 25 courtrooms and 150 judges are ready to address legal disputes related to the scheme.

What is the Rwanda plan?

The Rwanda asylum plan involves transferring the asylum seekers who arrived in the UK or ‘entered the UK illegally’ after January 1, 2022, to Rwanda, where their claims will be processed under a five-year agreement.

If the government successfully implements the plan, these asylum seekers may be given refugee status and permitted to stay for longer; alternatively, they may seek asylum in another “safe third country” or apply for settlement in Rwanda on other grounds, according to the BBC.

How will the Rwanda bill affect Indians?

In 2023, more than 1,000 Indians have risked their lives in an attempt to enter the UK from Europe via the English Channel in inflatable small boats. This was done in an attempt to seek jobs and asylum in the UK. 

However, due to this practice, the number of Indians seeking refuge in 2023 crossed the 5,000 mark for the first time in the year,

The share of illegal migrants from India aged 18-29 has risen significantly, who account for about 60 percent of the total number of illegal Indian migrants who crossed into the UK in 2023.

Now, under the newly passed Rwanda law, Indians who had entered the UK illegally will be included in the deportation plan. This could even lead to them losing their jobs and livelihoods.

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