British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the plans because he said it was necessary that those who arrived on small boats through dangerous routes and were hiding in lorries could not simply “disappear”.
Documents linked to the UK Home Office proposals show the government wants to obtain data on how often asylum seekers abscond.
Johnson told reporters upon his return, “It’s a very welcoming country. All right. I’m proud of it, but when people come here illegally, when they break the law, it’s important.” Let’s make that distinction.” from Ukraine.
“That’s what we’re doing with our Rwanda policy. That’s what we’re doing to make sure asylum seekers don’t disappear into the rest of the country,” he said.
Rwanda’s policy of evacuating some migrants to the East African nation has proved controversial, with the first flight being barred earlier this week based on a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel called the decision “absolutely condemnable” and “opaque”.
“We don’t know who the judges are, we don’t know who the panels are, we haven’t really made a decision – just a press release and a letter saying we can’t transfer this person under Rule 39 Huh.” Patel told ‘The Daily Telegraph’.
The Migration Partnership with Rwanda, announced by Patel in April, intends to give some migrants a one-way ticket to Kigali to claim asylum in the UK.
The government has said that the scheme, which came at an initial cost of GBP 120 million, would discourage smugglers to facilitate dangerous crossings in unsafe boats.
Meanwhile, Home Office electronic tagging trials in England and Wales began on Thursday to test whether it helps them maintain regular contact with asylum claimants and advance their claims more effectively. It will also collect data on how many people are absconding and have gone missing.
Those who are tagged could be subject to a curfew, and those who fail to comply with their terms could be back in custody or prosecuted.
According to reports, people tagged with such location-tracking devices will not include children or pregnant women.
While opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer accused the government of “chasing the headlines”, campaigners criticized the plans.
“It is appalling that this government is intent on treating men, women and children fleeing war, bloodshed and persecution as criminals,” said Enver Solomon, chief executive of the refugee council.
“This harsh and punitive approach not only shows no mercy to the very vulnerable, it will also do nothing to deter those who are desperately seeking protection in the UK,” he said.