Rwanda Plan: Essential Information

Updated: 14 May 2024

In April 2024, the UK enacted the 'Safety of Rwanda' Act and signed a Treaty with Rwanda to send individuals seeking asylum to Rwanda. Those sent to Rwanda will not be allowed to return to the UK except under very rare circumstances. Due to Rwanda's capacity limitations, most people will not be sent there. The Government aims to initiate the first flight this summer.

This policy likely contravenes human rights and international laws, such as the Refugee Convention, making it possible that no one will be sent to Rwanda due to legal challenges or other complications. Here’s the current information:

Who may be sent to Rwanda by the Home Office?

You might be at risk if you are an adult (over 18) without a UK visa and fit into one of these categories:

  1. Asylum claims post-1 January 2022:

    • Arrived through a “dangerous” journey and transited through another country where asylum could have been claimed (e.g., small boat from France or lorry from Belgium), and
    • Have not been granted refugee status in the UK. If your claim has been admitted (e.g., you’ve been invited to an interview or received a questionnaire), You should not be at risk unless the Home Office has new evidence for “inadmissibility.”

  2. Asylum claims refused, withdrawn, or considered withdrawn without an ongoing claim or appeal.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, the Government has stated that children, family members of children in the UK, and Rwandans will not be sent. Additionally, individuals who can demonstrate specific risks of serious and irreversible harm will not be sent.

What happens if you are at risk?

The Home Office can detain you and take you to an immigration detention center before transferring you to Rwanda. During this period, you can challenge the decision.

Before or after detention, you will receive a ‘notice of intent’ (NOI) that you may be removed to a ‘safe third country’ including Rwanda. If awaiting an asylum decision, you will also be informed that your asylum claim is “inadmissible.”

You may be offered a “voluntary departure” to Rwanda, which you can decline.

Can you challenge the Home Office decision?

Yes, you can challenge the decision under the Rwanda Act if Rwanda is unsafe for you or if you have a human rights claim to stay in the UK. Legal advice from an expert lawyer is crucial. Legal aid is likely available, covering costs for a lawyer, interpreter, and expert evidence.

You have limited time to respond to the Home Office: 7 days if detained, 14 days if not detained, or at least 5 working days if your asylum claim has been refused or withdrawn.

If your asylum claim was refused or withdrawn, you can appeal or file a new claim. Success will grant you refugee status in the UK. You can also challenge detention and apply for bail if detained.

Reasons for not being sent to Rwanda:

Examples include:

  • Identifying as LGBTQI+ and facing unsafe conditions for expressing your gender or sexuality in Rwanda.
  • Wanting to express opinions against the Rwandan government.
  • Risk of severe mental or physical suffering, claimable under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Having family life in the UK, claimable under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

What to do if you might be sent to Rwanda:

Find a lawyer immediately:

  • JCWI: 0207 553 7472 (Mon, Tues, Thurs, 10am – 1pm),
  • BID: 020 7456 9750 (Mon-Thurs 10am - 12pm),
  • Wilsons LLP legal aid solicitors: 020 8808 7535,
  • Duncan Lewis solicitors: 020 7275 2570,
  • Care4Calais Rwanda support: 07519773268 (WhatsApp), detention support: 0800 009 6268
  • Rainbow Migration (for LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum):

How to take action against the Rwanda Plan:


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