Updated 14th May 2024

On Friday 25 April the Safety of Rwanda Act 2024 became law.

Since then we know that some people have been detained and told that the Home Office is going to try to remove them to Rwanda.

We know that this is causing a lot of fear and we have written this information to advise people who think they may be affected.

If you are due to report/sign at the Home Office and have an outstanding asylum claim, or have been refused asylum, we suggest you take these steps:

  • If you have a legal representative, inform them that you are due to report and ensure you have their contact details saved, and written on a piece of paper as well as on your phone;
  • Share your legal representative’s contact details with friends and family;
  • If possible, take a friend to the reporting centre with you. They may not be allowed inside but they will be able to pass on an urgent message if you are detained;
  • Ask that friend to contact a legal representative, friends and family if you go into the reporting centre and they believe you have been detained;
  • If you have any documents about your asylum claim, ensure they are all kept together in an easily accessible place.

There are two groups who might be at risk of detentions under this policy, according to Home Office guidance.

1. People with outstanding asylum claims who arrived after 1st January 2022

This means you have claimed asylum but haven’t had a decision from the Home Office. If you have an outstanding claim and also fit into one of the following groups, our understanding is that you will not be affected: 

  • Children, including age-disputed children who are still supported as children
  • Families with children under 18
  • People whose claim has been declared admissible – that means their asylum claim is being considered in the UK. This includes asylum-seeking children who have since turned 18.
  • EU nationals
  • Rwandan nationals
  • People who claimed asylum before 1 January 2022
  • People who entered the UK with a valid visa  
  • People who did not arrive by small boat or lorry

2. People whose asylum claim has been refused, withdrawn or treated as withdrawn

On 13 May 2024 the Home Office issued a new policy which says that people who have made an asylum or human rights claim which had been refused or withdrawn; have no current appeal against that refusal and no fresh claim; and have no leave to remain in the UK, can be considered for removal to Rwanda.

This means people who have applied for asylum and been refused at any time may be at risk. Our advice below is the same for both of these groups.

If you are detained and given any papers which mention Rwanda, you should seek urgent legal advice:

North West

If you don’t already have a legal representative and you live in the North West, you can urgently contact nicola@gmiau.org – please title the email “Rwanda” and try and provide as much detail as possible about the person who needs help and what has happened in their case. If possible, include any Home Office documents with this email.

Outside the North West

If you live outside the North West, you can get urgent legal advice and assistance from Duncan Lewis Solicitors (ToufiqueH@duncanlewis.com and Ninak@duncanlewis.com) and Wilsons Solicitors (rwandareferrals@wilsonllp.co.uk)

Legal Aid is available.

Although the recent law is designed to make it easier for the Government to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda, there are still legal options and time to challenge your detention and any decisions that your claim is inadmissible in the UK and that you can be removed to Rwanda.

The earlier you seek legal advice the more time your representatives will have to prepare your claim.

Useful resources

GMIAU free confidential advice line – Mondays AND Fridays from 9:30am to 1pm, and on Wednesdays from 1:30pm to 4:30pm – 01617407722.

Right to Remain toolkit

These Walls Must Fall information leaflets translated into different languages