By Enyichukwu Enemanna
The United Kingdom has made a fund transfer of an additional £100 million to Rwanda this year in pursuance of its agreement to relocate asylum seekers to the East African country.
This was disclosed by Sir Matthew Rycroft, the Home Office’s top civil servant, a payment that comes after a previous payment of £140 million had already been made to Rwanda.
Sir Matthew revealed in a letter to members of the parliament that another payment of £50 million is expected next year.
The transfer of asylum seekers was first announced by then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson in April 2022.
It was however challenged in the court, hindering the implementation of the scheme. Since its introduction, lno asylum seeker has been sent from the UK to Rwanda.
The deal seeks to process asylum seekers in Rwanda as a deterrent against Channel crossings in small boats.
The Supreme Court however last month ruled that the policy is unlawful as it did not consider human rights.
The revelation of the additional £100 million comes after the resignation of Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick earlier this week.
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has expressed his commitment in pushing forward with the plan, despite Jenrick’s resignation. At a press conference on Thursday, Sunak vowed to “finish the job”.
The funds allocated to Rwanda are not directly linked to the new agreement signed between the UK and Rwanda this week as part of the government’s effort to amend the policy, Sir Matthew stated.
He instead said the new funds would contribute to the economic development and growth of Rwanda. A Home Office spokesperson declined to provide specific details about how the money would be spent.
Critics, including Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, have raised concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the costs associated with the relocation plan. Cooper accused the government of providing insufficient information to MPs who are expected to vote on emergency legislation related to the Rwanda policy next week.
The emergency legislation introduced by the government aims to address legal challenges surrounding the asylum seeker flights to Rwanda.
The bill designates Rwanda as a safe country and grants ministers the authority to disregard certain sections of the Human Rights Act.
However, it falls short of allowing the dismissal of the European Convention on Human Rights, a point of contention among some Conservative Party members.