Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2024

Rwanda bill continue to soar as it emerges how much it will cost to deport migrants | Politics | News

Deporting migrants to Rwanda will cost almost £500 million if 300 people are sent to Kigali, a shocking report has concluded.

The Home Office has already handed the Rwandan Government £220m and will pay an additional £50m in each of the next three financial years.

But the National Audit Office revealed the Government will also pay £120m when 300 migrants are deported to Rwanda.

This means it could cost nearly £2 million for every person sent to Kigali.

But the Home Office has insisted it had to act to prevent the accommodation bill for asylum seekers soaring to a staggering £11bn a year.

The NAO also revealed the Government is planning to deport migrants “up to March 2028”.

The report stated: “As at February 2024, the Home Office had paid £220 million to the Government of Rwanda under this mechanism, and has agreed to make further payments of £50 million each in April 2024, 2025 and 2026.

“The UK government has also agreed to make ETIF payments that are dependent on the number of individuals relocated. £120 million once 300 people have been relocated; and payments of £20,000 per individual relocated.”

Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Dame Diana Johnson MP said: “These are staggering figures.

“For all its rhetoric about ensuring value for money in the asylum and immigration system it is unclear how schemes such as Rwanda or Bibby Stockholm achieve that.

“Huge initial outlay and ongoing costs raise serious questions about how this can be cost effective, even compared to high hotel accommodation costs.

“What we are left with is a very expensive programme the Government hopes may offer a deterrent to those seeking to cross the Channel in small boats.

“Yet, there is little evidence for this either. Unless the Government deals with the realities of the situation and focuses its energy and the public’s money on fixing the real issues in the asylum and immigration system, it will achieve nothing.”

Officials will pay £151,000 per migrant sent to Kigali. These payments are set to be spread over five years.

And the flight alone will cost around £11,000 per asylum seeker, the shocking report revealed. Escorting migrants on the flights will cost £23.5 million.

The NAO added: “The Home Office has recognised that it may need to use a non-commercial flight operator and airport to remove people from the UK, and plans to undertake works to improve security arrangements.”

The UK will pay for accommodation, “essential items such as food, medical services, education and other integration programmes” for everyone deported to Kigali.

The National Audit Office also revealed: “The partnership runs until 13 April 2027, and the Home Office is planning to relocate people up to March 2028. On this basis, it would potentially continue to make payments under the partnership until March 2033.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “It is vital we respond to illegal migration with bold, long-term solutions. Our Partnership with Rwanda offers just that.   

“Doing nothing is not without significant costs. Unless we act, the cost of housing asylum seekers is set to reach £11 billion per year by 2026. Illegal migration costs lives and perpetuates human trafficking, and it is therefore right that we fund solutions to break this unsustainable cycle.  

“We have a strong relationship with Rwanda and both sides remain absolutely determined to deliver on this Partnership.

“Once the Safety of Rwanda Bill and Treaty are in place, we will focus on getting flights off the ground.” 

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