Asylum-seekers facing deportation to Rwanda launch legal battles

EXCLUSIVE: Migrants fight back: More than half the 130 asylum-seekers facing first deportation flights to Rwanda next week launch their legal battle to remain in UK – but Home Office source declares Priti Patel ‘won’t back down’

  • The Home Office has selected 130 people to begin the £120million asylum deal
  • But over half the migrants set to board the first flight have filed legal challenges 
  • Under laws introduced by Theresa May, foreign nationals who claim work exploitation can halt immigration procedures against them for 45 days

More than half the migrants scheduled for the first Rwanda charter flight have lodged legal challenges, the Daily Mail can reveal today.

The Home Office has selected 130 individuals for next Tuesday’s operation under a £120million asylum deal with the east African nation.

But lawyers for around 80 of them have already submitted legal challenges asking to stay in the UK.

And Home Office officials expect the remaining 50 will do so this week.

Most of the claims rely on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to ‘private and family life’ – or involve allegations of modern slavery. Under laws introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary, foreign nationals who claim work exploitation can halt immigration procedures against them for 45 days pending an investigation.

Journey’s end? Migrants are brought into Dover by Border Guard staff yesterday 

A Home Office insider said: ‘As predicted, specialist immigration lawyers are pulling every trick in the book and exploiting every possible loophole to get their clients off the flight. Every single person due to be relocated could and should have claimed asylum in a country they passed through, instead of coming to the UK illegally.


People traffickers used paprika to throw Home Office sniffer dogs off the scent of stowaway migrants.

Akan Brayan, of Nottingham, and Dylan Shwani, of Lincoln, were found guilty of recruiting drivers to hide migrants in hired vans before smuggling them into the UK.

The spice was found on a van floor to confuse search dogs, a Home Office spokesman said. The pair, both 37, smuggled 31 migrants including seven children and a pregnant woman between 2016 and 2018.

The men were sentenced to seven years in prison at Nottingham Crown court.

‘Priti won’t back down though, and government lawyers will be working around the clock to try and defeat as many of these barriers as possible, while changes through the Nationality and Borders Act will help drive down the merry-go-round of claims.’

All those being selected for the removals flight are apparently being held in detention centres to stop them absconding.

The news came as the number of Channel migrants to have arrived from northern France so far this year surged beyond 10,000.

An estimated 80 – including four small children pictured holding their teddy bears – were escorted into Dover by Border Force officials yesterday.

Revised figures from the Ministry of Defence show that 9,941 migrants have reached the UK in small boats since January 1, not including yesterday’s arrivals.

A record 28,526 made the crossing in 2021, compared with 8,466 the previous year, 1,843 in 2019 and 299 in 2018, according to official figures. This year’s running total is more than double that reached at this point last year.

The Rwanda scheme will see ‘irregular migrants’ – those who arrived by small boats or in the back of lorries – handed a one-way ticket to the Rwandan capital Kigali. They will claim asylum there instead of in Britain, with a support package from the UK.

The Home Office had been prioritising irregular migrants who arrived since May 1 for the inaugural flight, which was due to take off on Tuesday from a secret location.

No more migrants can now be selected because they must have five working days of notice.

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