top of page

uk immigration: UK government’s contested immigration plan to become law

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak‘s highly contested plan to make it easier to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is set to become law after the government defeated attempts by parliament’s upper house to make changes to the legislation.

The Illegal Migration Bill had been stuck in a battle between parliament’s House of Commons and the House of Lords, Britain’s unelected upper chamber, which had repeatedly made changes to the legislation to water it down.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the last of those proposed changes was voted down. It can now go for Royal Assent, where it is formally approved by the king and becomes law.

The legislation will help with the government’s plan to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrive on its shores a distance of more than 4,000 miles (6,400 km) to Rwanda.

Britain struck an initial 140-million-pound ($180 million) deal with the East African country last year, however the policy remains tied up in the courts. The government is appealing a Court of Appeal ruling last month that the plan was unlawful.

The first planned Rwanda deportation flight was blocked a year ago in a last-minute ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.The legislation will enable the government to stop people who arrive in Britain without permission from claiming asylum and deport them either to their country of origin or a so-called safe country like Rwanda. It has been criticised by some opposition politicians and civil rights groups as inhumane, cruel and ineffective.