LONDON – UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to hand Rwanda at least £15 million more to sign a treaty to take asylum seekers deported from the UK, it has emerged, the Independent newspaper reported on Sunday.
The money will be on top of the £140 million already given to Kigali as part of a plan for the east African country to accept asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK via small boats.
UK Home Secretary James Cleverly is expected to fly to Rwanda to sign a treaty with the country after the government’s previous plan was ruled unlawful in the Supreme Court.
The home secretary and Sunak hope the upgraded treaty will be enough to address judges’ concerns about the government’s flagship migration policy.
Downing Street insiders did not rule out the prospect of Rwanda being given more money as part of a treaty deal, adding that any potential cash boost would be to cover additional costs associated with addressing the concerns raised by the Supreme Court.
Sunak met Rwanda’s President con the sidelines of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai on Friday but refused to say how much more money he would spend to get the scheme off the ground.
The additional £15 million will be used to pay for extra personnel to improve and expand the Rwandan asylum processing system.
Sources inside No 10 said the UK Government was hopeful that the emergency legislation would be ready this week but that it could not be guaranteed.
The bid to send some asylum seekers on a one-way trip to the African nation was dealt a blow when the Supreme Court ruled it unlawful last month.