The United Kingdom has already paid Rwanda £120 million (over €140 million) to take in deported migrants, although the controversial deal between the two countries has stalled over legal objections.
Government officials in the East African country have confirmed that they have received full initial payment for the agreement signed in April. Downing Street had admitted that money had been paid, but declined to say how much and when that was done, saying the information was “confidential”.
The first deportation flight was grounded in June after a series of legal challenges and another attempt has not yet been planned. Asked by reporters how much money had already been paid by the UK, Rwandan Government Spokesperson Yolande Makolo said “there was an initial transfer of £120 million,” adding, “that amount has already been paid and we are using the money to prepare.”
Rwanda remains “committed” to the partnership, she said.
Several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and the Care4Calais, Detention Action and Asylum Aid charities have challenged the legality of the Interior Ministry’s deal. The next court hearings are scheduled for September and October.
As a result of the ongoing lawsuits, a new flight is not seen as likely before winter, and some migrants who had received deportation slips for Rwanda have already been released from asylum centers because no other flight has yet been planned.
Earlier this week, the Home Affairs Committee ruled in the House of Commons that there was “no evidence” that the measure served as a deterrent. More than 1,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel since the deal was signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel.