ArticleUK government pauses asylum claims amid Rwanda removal review

The UK government has announced a pause in processing asylum claims for individuals who arrived on or after 1 January 2022 and received a notice of intent before 29 June 2023 concerning possible removal to Rwanda. This decision follows the Supreme Court’s ruling on 15 November 2023, which deemed the removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda, based on the then-available evidence, to be unlawful.

While finding the removals unlawful, the Supreme Court recognized the potential for future modifications to address its concerns. Responding to this, the Home Secretary has opted to maintain a general pause in making inadmissibility decisions for this specific group. The decision signifies a cautious approach, allowing time for the government to address the legal issues raised by the court. This pause is in effect while work is underway to meet the requirements set out by the Supreme Court.

The implications of this policy shift are extensive. The pause in decision-making applies to a considerable number of individuals who fall under the category of potential inadmissibility due to their arrival dates and the receipt of notice of intent. However, the Home Office reserves the right to make decisions in exceptional cases where the Home Secretary believes there are compelling reasons to proceed with individual cases.

Looking ahead, the government anticipates resuming decision-making on these asylum claims once the safety of Rwanda bill receives royal assent. This legislative step is expected to potentially enable the removal of individuals in this group to Rwanda. Nonetheless, the actual likelihood of a significant number of these asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda remains low, given the complex legal and logistical challenges involved.

The decision to pause asylum claim considerations for this specific group reflects the UK government’s recognition of the legal complexities involved in its immigration and asylum policies. For the tens of thousands of asylum seekers affected, this development marks a period of uncertainty as they await the outcome of the government’s efforts to align its policies with the legal standards set by the Supreme Court.

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