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Rwanda Says It Can’t Guarantee How Many Asylum Seekers Will Be Accepted

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As part of Rishi Sunak’s deportation plan, Rwanda has acknowledged that it cannot guarantee the number of individuals it will deport from the UK.

The east African nation stated that there will be “thousands” of asylum seekers accepted, but it did not guarantee that the estimated 52,000 asylum seekers in the UK who are eligible to be moved to Kigali would be accepted.

On BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Yolande Makolo, a government spokesperson, also characterized rumours that Rwanda will initially only accept 200 refugees as a “misconception.”

“We will be able to welcome the migrants that the UK sends over the lifetime of this partnership. What I cannot tell you is how many thousands we are taking in the first year or the second year. This will depend on many factors that are being worked out right now. However, we have already started initial discussions with other facilities around Kigali and further afield and these will be firmed up and signed once we know how many migrants are coming and when they are coming. So it has never been the case that we can only take 200 initially, that has been a misconception,” said Makolo.

Under the Rwanda system, some asylum seekers who enter the UK through unofficial channels—such as narrow boats crossing the Channel—are sent to Rwanda, an east African nation.

Those who are moved to Rwanda will file asylum applications there, and if approved, they will be granted refugee status within the nation. If that doesn’t work out, individuals can apply to settle in Rwanda under different circumstances or seek asylum in another “safe third country.”

The contentious five-year agreement was first proposed in 2022 by Priti Patel, the former home secretary, in an effort to address the rising number of migrants using tiny boats to cross the Channel. Nevertheless, a number of legal issues have arisen, preventing flights to Kigali from departing.

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