The cost for Rwanda’s plan to house one asylum seeker would be approximately £1.8 million, according to recent data.

The cost for Rwanda’s plan to house one asylum seeker would be approximately £1.8 million, according to recent data.

Rishi Sunak’s flagship plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda will cost taxpayers £1.8m for each of the first 300 people the government deports to Kigali, Whitehall’s official spending watchdog has disclosed.

According to the data provided to the National Audit Office, the total expense of the program amounts to over five hundred million pounds. Even if the United Kingdom does not send anyone to the central African country, Sunak has committed to funding 370 million pounds from the government budget over the course of five years.

For almost three years, prime ministers, home secretaries, and top Home Office officials have continuously refused to disclose the complete expenses of the agreement, citing “commercial confidentiality”. This information has now been revealed.

Up to this point, not a single asylum seeker has been transferred to Rwanda, primarily due to continued legal objections to the program from both European and UK regulations.

The chairman of the home affairs select committee, Diana Johnson, was surprised by the final results and raised significant worries about the lack of openness.

According to Johnson, a member of the Labour party, these numbers are shocking. The large initial expenses and continued costs raise concerns about whether this is a cost-efficient solution, especially when compared to expensive hotel accommodations.

The government has implemented a costly program with the hope that it will deter individuals from crossing the Channel in small boats. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this belief.

If the government fails to address the true problems in the asylum and immigration system and instead prioritizes spending on other matters, it will be unsuccessful in making any real progress.

Auditors have reported that the Home Office has given their consent to send two forms of payments directly to the government of Rwanda. One payment will go to the ETIF, a fund aimed at promoting economic development in Rwanda. The other payment will cover costs related to processing asylum claims and supporting relocated individuals in Rwanda.

The ETIF has received a payment of £220m from the Home Office starting in April 2022. Additional payments of £50m are scheduled for 2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27.

According to the report, a “five-year processing and integration package” has been determined for every individual being relocated. This package will include essential expenses like housing, food, medical care, education, and other integration programs. The cost for each person being deported is estimated to be £150,874.

According to the data, sending 300 individuals from the UK to Rwanda through the partnership would result in a cost of £490 million for taxpayers. Additionally, there would be an extra £6 million in individual payments and £45 million for processing and operational expenses over a period of five years, bringing the total cost to £541 million. This amounts to an average cost of £1.8 million per asylum seeker.

The UK government’s Home Office has allocated £20 million towards implementing the Rwanda program, which has remained in operation throughout the tenures of three different prime ministers, namely Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak. Four home secretaries – Priti Patel, Suella Braverman (serving two separate terms), Grant Shapps, and James Cleverly – have been responsible for overseeing the program.

The report stated that officials anticipate an increase from £20 million to £28 million by the conclusion of 2023-24. The Home Office predicts there will be additional expenses incurred before the scheme’s end.

The report stated that if the UK utilizes a break clause in the agreement, they will no longer make payments towards the ETIF. However, they would still be responsible for covering the living expenses of any deported individuals and would not be able to reclaim any previous payments.

In the event that the Rwandan government violates the agreement, the UK has the right to request a refund of payments made in that year, but not for any previous years.

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The report stated that the costs outlined are the specific expenses related to the partnership. However, it also mentioned that there are additional costs associated with implementing the Illegal Migration Act that were not taken into account.

The Home Office reports that the typical expense per evening for offering hotel housing to those seeking asylum is £140, not accounting for additional expenses incurred by local services. They estimate that the overall cost to taxpayers over a five year period would exceed £150,000 per asylum seeker.

According to the impact assessment of the Illegal Migration Act of 2023, if no action is taken, the expense of providing housing for asylum seekers will reach £11 billion annually by 2026.

A representative from the Home Office stated that the program was a courageous and sustainable resolution. They emphasized that it would relocate individuals to Rwanda and be cost-effective.

Not taking any action has its consequences. Without intervention, it is estimated that the price of providing housing for asylum seekers will be £11bn annually by 2026. Engaging in illegal migration results in loss of life and continues the heinous crime of human trafficking. Thus, it is appropriate that we allocate resources to find solutions and put an end to this harmful cycle.

“We maintain a strong partnership with Rwanda and are fully committed to fulfilling our collaboration. Upon the establishment of the Rwanda safety bill and treaty, our main priority will be to initiate flights.”

Shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, stated that this report exposes the shameful truth that the Tories have been attempting to conceal. The alarming analysis demonstrates that the expenses of the unsuccessful Rwanda debacle are even greater than previously estimated.

To transport a small fraction of UK asylum seekers to Rwanda via a limited number of symbolic flights, taxpayers will have to pay over 500 million pounds. There will be no means of reclaiming any of the funds already spent.

Rishi Sunak’s stance on this program has been put on the line. He is responsible for addressing this failure.