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Rwanda plan to cost UK £1.8m for each asylum seeker, figures show

The UK's plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is expected to cost £1.8 million per individual for the initial 300 deportations, a figure that has shocked the chair of the home affairs committee.
The scheme's total expenditure is projected to exceed £500 million, based on information presented to the National Audit Office. Even without any deportations, the UK has committed to paying Rwanda £370 million over the next five years.

The cost details, which had been undisclosed for nearly three years due to "commercial confidentiality," have been revealed amid legal challenges that have prevented any deportations to date.

Labour MP Diana Johnson criticized the enormous costs and questioned the program's effectiveness as a deterrent, urging the government to focus on fixing core issues in the immigration system instead.

The UK's payments to Rwanda include contributions to support Rwanda’s economic growth and covers the processing and living expenses of relocated asylum seekers. The UK has already paid £220 million and will make additional payments annually until 2026-27, totaling £370 million.

Additional costs involve a £150,874 "five-year processing and integration package" for each individual deported, amounting to £541 million for 300 deportations. The Home Office has spent £20 million so far on the scheme setup costs, expected to rise to £28 million by 2023-24.

In the event of a failure to follow through on the deal, the UK can halt further payments but will not recover previous contributions. Conversely, if Rwanda violates the agreement, the UK is entitled to a refund for that year's payments only.

The provided costs are direct; indirect costs associated with implementing the Illegal Migration Act are not included. The Home Office insists on the scheme's cost-effectiveness compared to the projected £11 billion annual cost of housing asylum seekers by 2026.

The Home Office maintains the plan will reduce illegal migration and human trafficking and is in partnership with Rwanda. Meanwhile, the opposition has labeled the scheme a “national scandal,” and demands accountability for its high costs and symbolic value.

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