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Rwanda immigration bill suffers further delays as Lords insist on amendments

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 18 April 2024 at 08:25

The United Kingdom (UK) government’s plans to send migrants seeking asylum in the country to Rwanda continue to face delays after the Lords voted to demand changes to the Rwanda Bill.

The Lords have insisted on amendments to the Bill that declare Rwanda a safe country, despite the members of the House of Commons overturning proposals put forth in the Bill on Tuesday.

Some of the amendments the peers are pushing for include the exemption of agents, allies, and employees of the UK overseas, including Afghans who served alongside British soldiers, from the scheme and the condition that Rwanda would not be declared safe until a report is completed.

They are also seeking amendments to ensure that the Bill complies with domestic and international law, including human rights and modern slavery legislation, and to ensure that the scheme allows appeals based on safety.

The MPs are now expected to vote on the peers proposals next week on Monday.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had hoped that the Bill would be passed on Wednesday to pave the way for the first flight to depart to Rwanda.

The Labour party, accused by Sunak of derailing the scheme, had opposed rushing it, stating that flights should not take off until a committee of experts, set up to monitor the scheme, determines that Rwanda has fulfilled certain safety standards.

The scheme, first announced in April 2022 by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government following a deal with Rwandan authorities, seeks to act as a deterrent to persons arriving in the UK on small boats across the English Channel.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament after the UK Supreme Court ruled that the government’s scheme was unlawful.

The judges argued that genuine refugees being removed to Rwanda faced the risk of being returned to their home countries, where they could face harm.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had hoped that the Bill would be passed on Wednesday to pave the way for the first flight to depart to Rwanda

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