People arriving in UK via irregular means ‘to be deported to Rwanda before election’ | Immigration and asylum #People #arriving #irregular #means #deported #Rwanda #election #Immigration #asylum

People arriving in the UK by irregular means will be deported to Rwanda before the next general election, Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, has said, as the home secretary, James Cleverly, arrives in Kigali to sign a treaty paving the way for the policy.

Jenrick, who has taken an increasingly rightwing stance and hinted at his frustration with Downing Street’s perceived inaction on migration, also ramped up the rhetoric, accusing people crossing the Channel in small boats of “breaking into the country”.

Cleverly, the third home secretary in recent years to travel to Rwanda as part of British government attempts to establish a deportation scheme, landed this morning in Kigali, the capital, where he is expected to sign a revised treaty to replace an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) as part of a two-pronged response to the UK supreme court’s rejection last month of the government’s Rwanda plans.

Rwanda would also be declared safe for asylum seekers under “emergency” legislation being drawn up by the government in an attempt to neutralise the problem of the courts, and which could come as soon as this week.

Asked whether he was certain planes would leave for Kigali before the general election, which is expected to take place next year, Jenrick told Sky News: “I am. But we will need to do a few things to achieve that.

“The treaty that the home secretary is going to sign later today, I hope, will create a fundamentally different and better arrangement with the government of Rwanda that answers the concerns of the supreme court.”

He also told Sky News it was “profoundly wrong” for people to be entering the UK on small boats, adding: “If you or I crossed an international border, or literally broke into another country, we would expect to be treated very seriously.”

British lawyers could also be sent to Rwandan courts as part of the accord that would replace the MoU, which is not legally binding and cannot be relied on in any court.

Both the Rwandan and British governments could produce a dossier aimed at showing that the country is safe for asylum seekers and rebutting last month’s UK supreme court rejection.

Cleverly arrived in Rwanda after announcing a package of measures on Monday designed to cut the number of workers and their dependants legally entering the UK, making it far harder for employers to bring in overseas staff, including in the NHS and social care sector.

He presented a five-point plan in which the minimum salary requirement for a skilled worker visa would rise to £38,700, while the rule allowing the most needed professions to be hired at 20% below the going rate would be scrapped.

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Jenrick said on Tuesday that the government was committed to its pledge to reduce net migration from current levels of 672,000 to 225,000, adding: “I am committed, the government is committed, to meeting our manifesto pledge.”

Pressed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the increase in the salary requirement and how it linked the ability of families to be reunited with how rich they were, he replied: “There are hard choices at the heart of this. If you want to bring down net migration there are trade-offs. You have to be wiling to take difficult decisions.”

The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, indicated that Labour would keep an open mind on whether it would retain the changes to the minimum salary requirement if it came into power.

The Migration Advisory Committee, an independent body that advises the government on migration issues, should look at the increase, particularly in relation to its potential impact on British citizens who fell in love across borders, Cooper told BBC Radio 4.

“There is a possibility that what it will lead to is a big increase in rushed marriages because of the changes,” she added.

#People #arriving #irregular #means #deported #Rwanda #election #Immigration #asylum

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