Rwanda migration bill: Sunak suffers fresh defeats in Upper House

By Wycliffe Nyamasege
On 17 April 2024 at 08:38

Plans for the United Kingdom to remove some migrants to Rwanda continue to suffer setbacks as the parliamentary ping-pong over the scheme intensifies.

Yesterday, members of the House of Lords backed plans to remove exceptions to the scheme for children and ensure it adheres to international law, despite the House of Commons voting to reject previous amendments to the Rwanda Bill.

At the same time, the Lords renewed their support for the Labour Party’s proposal to exempt agents, allies, and employees of the UK overseas seeking asylum in the UK from being removed to Rwanda.

The peers also maintained their demand that the Bill must have "due regard" for domestic and international law, including human rights and modern slavery legislation.

The Lords also agreed to crossbench peer Lord Hope’s measure that requires Rwanda to undergo independent verification before it is considered safe.

The Bill returned to the Lords for further scrutiny after MPs rejected all their amendments to the legislation.

MPs are scheduled to deliberate on the new developments before taking a vote later today.

The Bill will not become law until both the Upper and Lower chambers agree on its final wording.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had earlier indicated that he hopes the legislation will be adopted this week, paving the way for the first flight to depart to Rwanda.

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 people 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.

The UK government says failed asylum seekers would be offered £3,000 (Rwf4,866,727) to move to Rwanda under the new voluntary scheme.

The United Kingdom's House of Lords in session