Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gestures as he speaks during the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday that flights to transfer undocumented migrants from the United Kingdom to Rwanda would start in the spring of 2024 as planned, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that the measure is unlawful. Earlier in the day, the UK Supreme Court declared unlawful the removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda and therefore rejected the Home Office’s appeal to revise a similar decision of a lower court. Sunak held talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and the two leaders agreed to continue their cooperation on migration issues despite the court’s ruling, the UK government said. “We will clear the remaining barriers and flights will be heading off in the spring as planned,” Sunak was quoted as saying by UK media. The UK prime minister also pledged to introduce emergency legislation to make sure that the Rwanda plan is not blocked again. WorldUK Appeals Court Labels Rwanda Deportation Scheme for Illegal Migrants ‘Unlawful’29 June, 12:24 GMTThe UK government is working on a new migration agreement with Rwanda, Sunak said. A cabinet spokesman added later that the document would be presented for review in the coming days. Newly-appointed UK Interior Minister James Cleverly said the agreement would be upgraded to a treaty level. Undocumented migration has been a pressing issue for the UK for years and intensified after the country left the European Union in 2020. In April 2022, the UK and Rwanda signed a migration agreement, stipulating that people recognized by the UK government as undocumented migrants or asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda for the processing of their documents, obtaining asylum, and relocation.
The first deportation of migrants to Rwanda was scheduled for June 14, 2022. However, the flight was axed last minute after the European Court of Human Rights granted an appeal to all the asylum seekers on board.
In March 2023, the UK government presented a bill that seeks to relocate migrants who came to the UK illegally by boats across the English Channel to a "safe third country" like Rwanda.
However, in late June 2023, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that London's plan to deport undocumented migrants to Rwanda was unlawful, which resulted in the Home Office's appeal to revise the decision.