Home Office has lost contact with thousands of potential Rwanda deportees, data shows

Home Office has lost contact with thousands of potential Rwanda deportees, data shows

The Home Office is “used to” losing contact with asylum seekers, a UK government minister has said, after official figures suggested thousands of people it hoped to deport to Rwanda had stopped reporting.

The impact assessment on the Home Office’s website on Monday suggests the department is in contact with 38% of those it intends to remove to Rwanda. Only 2,145 “continue to report to the Home Office and can be located for detention”, the impact assessment says, of the 5,700 it has identified to put on the first flights.

Human rights groups and campaigners have strongly condemned the scheme, which Rishi Sunak has vowed to have running by July.

The health secretary said law enforcement would be involved in locating those who had gone missing from official contacts.

“The Home Office is used to this operationally, law enforcement officers are used to this,” Victoria Atkins told Sky News. “So the expectation is that we remove that group of people, as well as others, by the end of the year … We want the message to go out loud and clear that if somebody doesn’t report as they should do, they shouldn’t think that they will get away with it. They will be found.

“Law enforcement have a variety of measures to find people, they will be found and they will be removed. We want to deal with this. We don’t pretend it’s easy but we believe that Rwanda is one of the many tools we have at our disposal.”

The shadow immigration minister, Stephen Kinnock, said the statistics exposed “the total lack of grip the Conservatives have over the asylum system and the chaos at the heart of their Rwanda policy.

“The prime minister promised to detain and remove all those who crossed the Channel. Now he can’t even locate those intended for removal. How can the Conservative Home Office keep losing so many people?

“Labour has a plan to reverse the Tory collapse in removals with a 1,000 officer-strong returns and enforcement unit, and smash the criminal gangs responsible for the evil smuggling trade.”

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The document, first reported by the Times, also says there could also be last-minute delays to deportations caused by MPs making representations.

“We may expect future … cases to attract significant attention from MPs, and responders may be overwhelmed by cases, causing a delay or removal to be cancelled pending a response,” the impact assessment says.

Source: theguardian.com