EU'VE GOT RIGHT IDEA Boost for Rishi as 19 EU countries demand the right to introduce Rwanda-style migration schemes

A DRIVE by European Union countries to replicate a Rwanda-style immigration scheme has sparked delight in Downing Street. 

The heads of 19 member states have demanded Brussels bosses look at offshore processing to help stem the flow of illegal arrivals.

The EU is looking at third country processing to tackle illegal migration
The EU is looking at third country processing to tackle illegal migrationCredit: PA
Rishi Sunak has previously spoken to Italian PM Giorgia Meloni on the need to grip illegal migration
Rishi Sunak has previously spoken to Italian PM Giorgia Meloni on the need to grip illegal migrationCredit: AFP

Rishi Sunak’s spokesman claimed vindication for the flagship Rwanda plan and said: “I suspect we’ll continue to see some of them follow our lead.”

Czech PM Petr Fiala today revealed that he and Italian PM Giorgia Meloni were leading a caucus of 19 nations pushing for a “real solution to illegal migration”. 

He said the current approach by the Commission was not good enough and called for asylum seeker processing in third countries.

Meloni added: “We agree that to manage migration the priority is to work on externalisation; therefore, to work with third countries, to prevent the flow rather than having to manage it.”It would be a significant coup for Mr Sunak should the EU copy Britain’s Rwanda-style deportation plan.

The PM’s spokesman today welcomed the move, saying: “We've always said that illegal migration is a global challenge that's going to need bold and innovative solutions.

“So we welcome the fact that our European partners are exploring new novel ideas to help manage and deal with this challenge and that's something that we've been working closely with partner countries.

“We’ve said previously, we're seeing a number of countries looking increasingly at things like third country partnerships, and I suspect we'll continue to see some of them follow our lead.”Last month French President Emmanuel Macron blasted the Rwanda policy as opposed to European values - sparking a rebuke from No10.

Mr Sunak has claimed the prospect of Rwanda flights - due to start in the next nine weeks - are already having a deterrent effect as migrants are pouring into IrelandNo10 has also said the level of small boat crossings would be higher if the threat of being sent to Kigali did not exist.

This is despite Channel arrivals coming at a faster rate than any year on record, with more than 8,000 having made the dangerous journey since the start of the year.

It includes 95 illegal migrants in two rickety dinghies just yesterday.

Mr Sunak this week described mass migration as the “defining challenge of our age” that required more than “tinkering” to solve.

He said: “That’s why we’re pioneering the Rwanda scheme. And so, when people see that if they come here illegally, they will be swiftly detained and removed, they will be deterred from making that perilous journey, stopping the boats and saving thousands of lives.”

Taking a shot at Labour for vowing to axe the plan, he added: “Only we Conservatives have the strength to challenge conventions and do something different about it.”

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to scrap the flights on day one if elected, branding it unworkable and a waste of money.

What is the Rwanda plan and when will flights take off?

THE first migrant to be sent to Rwanda has gone voluntarily this week after their asylum claim failed.

Rather than being returned to their home country, they have opted to use a new Home Office scheme to start a new life in Kigali.

It is a parallel plan to Rishi Sunak's flagship immigration one to physically deport illegal arrivals.

Under this policy, illegal migrants will have no choice about being deported to Rwanda. Here are the details...

What is the Rwanda plan?

Under the flagship immigration plan, anyone who arrives in Britain illegally will never have the right to remain permanently.

For those who cannot be returned to their home country, ministers plan to send them to Rwanda, a country in eastern Africa.

The government believes the threat of being removed to Rwanda will deter migrants from making the dangerous Channel crossing in small boats.

Once in Rwanda, their asylum claims will be processed but there is no route back to the UK, save for some exceptional circumstances such as individual safety concerns.

Britain will also pay for migrants to start a new life in Rwanda for the first five years.

What’s the hold up?

First announced by Boris Johnson in 2022, the scheme has been bogged down by relentless legal challenges.

The first flight was due to take off in the summer of that year, but was blocked on the runway at the last minute by a European Court order.

Since then the legality of the plan has been contested in the courts, culminating in a Supreme Court judgement in November last year which said Rwanda was unsafe for asylum seekers. 

What is Sunak doing?

To salvage the Rwanda plan from the Supreme Court’s scathing ruling, Rishi Sunak has unveiled a two-pronged workaround.

First, he has signed a new treaty with Rwanda to beef up protections for asylum seekers that have been enshrined in law.

Second, he has introduced new legislation that declares Rwanda a safe country.

It means courts, police and officials would have to treat Rwanda as safe and therefore throw out legal challenges to deportation.

He has given ministers the power to ignore European grounding orders to avoid a repeat of the 2022 runway fiasco.

When will flights take off?

Five months after the Supreme Court appeared to have sunk the Rwanda plan, it is now back on track.

Mr Sunak insists both Britain and Rwanda are ready for the first flights to take off in July to kickstart a “regular rhythm” of planes.

The process of detaining those migrants earmarked for the first flights has now begun, although the Home Office is remaining tight-lipped over how they have been selected.

Will it work?

The Safety of Rwanda Act is the third piece of legislation designed to stop small boats in two years.

Mr Sunak is confident that this one is finally tough enough to make deportations to Kigali a viable threat, and therefore deter illegal migrants making the dangerous Channel crossing.

One thing for certain is that an army of lawyers are gearing up to launch legal challenges on behalf of those individuals scheduled for removal.

The threshold they have to meet is that migrants face a risk of “serious and irreversible harm” by being sent to Kigali.

Ministers previously insisted that the Safety of Rwanda Act would force courts to throw out around 95 per cent of all claims.

Time will tell if the legislation is as watertight as they hope - and whether it proves to be an effective deterrent for those considering piling into small boats.

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