Rwanda Asylum Plans hit another buffer as Kigali asylum homes sold off to locals

In yet another blow to the fortunes of the UK government’s Rwanda asylum project, details emerged on Tuesday that the majority of the 163 dwellings earmarked for UK Asylum deportees last year, were subsequently classified as affordable homes and sold to local buyers. The dwellings which were described by Suella Braverman as ‘beautiful ‘ and with exceptional interior design qualities, during a visit in March last year, were presented by the Rwanda Government as homes specifically set aside for UK migrants deported from the UK. Braverman was quoted at the time of her visit as remarking:

‘These houses are really beautiful – great quality, really welcoming – and I really like your interior designer’

 Developers of the ‘Bwiza Riverside Estate’, confirmed that over 70% of the homes had been sold to private buyers as part of a public private partnership between the government of Rwanda and the ADHI Corporate Group for prices ranging between £14,000 and £27,000.

The former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, used the revelation of the sales, to blast the current Rwanda – Asylum and Immigration Bill, which the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is hopeful of ratifying in parliament in time for flights to take off by the end of the Spring. She cited the prospect that merely a handful of ‘token’ flights will likely eventually take off to Rwanda, under the current plan and that this was responsible for lowering expectations on the Rwanda side. She believes that this has hastened the sale of the properties. Speaking on LBC Radio on Monday, she said:

‘Because the way the plan should work – and the plan that I put forward to the Prime Minister – is that we need to have a large number of flights going to Rwanda on a regular basis, with a large number of passengers on them. I do believe that we may well get a flight off, a token flight with a low number of passengers on it, to Rwanda – that’s not deterrence. The only way we generate a deterrent effect to stop people getting on the boats and coming to the UK illegally is regular flights with hundreds of passengers on those flights being sent to Rwanda on a regular basis. I’m afraid the plan, as it stands today, won’t deliver that’

The Labour Party’s Shadow Immigration Minister, Stephen Kinnock – reflecting no doubt on the fact that in the two years since the launch of the Rwanda plan, not a single person has been deported to Rwanda, was scathing about the governments Rwanda project. He said:

‘The half a billion pound Rwanda scheme is a failing farce, which will only cover less than one per cent of asylum arrivals. Now it seems that there will be even less capacity to house those that are removed. The Tories’ so called plan is unraveling by the day and taxpayers are footing the bill’

 Rwanda Airlines rejects UK government proposal to transport asylum seekers to Rwanda to protect its brand reputation

Further negative news related to the government’s Rwanda project came on Wednesday morning, as it was revealed that Rwanda’s state owned airline, Rwanda Air, had turned down a proposal from the UK to transport asylum seekers to Kigali because it feared damaging its brand. A Home Office spokesperson hinted at the irony of the response from Rwanda Air, given that the Rwanda government had publicly expressed its pride in being involved in the asylum scheme with the UK.

Despite the setbacks on the ground, the government is expected to push through the Asylum bill to Royal assent soon after parliament returns on 15th April.


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