British taxpayers to pay a minimum of €200,000 per migrant sent to Rwanda

FILE - Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves following a press conference in Downing Street in London, Thursday Jan. 18, 2024. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP)
By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

The astronomical costs involved with the U.K.’s Rwanda deportation scheme have been laid bare in a new report by the government’s spending watchdog which revealed that each migrant sent to the West African nation will set the British taxpayer back at least £171,000 (€200,000).

According to the National Audit Office (NAO) report published on Friday, the British government has paid Rwanda £220 million already through the Economic Transformation and Integration Fund (ETIF), which is designed to support economic growth in the country, despite not sending a single migrant to Kigali.

Three further payments of £50 million will be paid annually up to 2027 and an additional payment of £120 million will be sent under the Migration and Economic Development Partnership once Rwanda has relocated 300 migrants from Britain.

One-off payments of £20,000 will be paid for every migrant received by the country with a further £150,874 per individual paid over five years for processing and operational costs.

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The financial arrangement could see the British government pay £541 million (€632 million) to relocate just 300 migrants — a cost to the British taxpayer of £1.8 million (€2.1 million).

These are just the costs to the Rwandan government and do not factor in the accommodation costs ahead of deporting migrants arriving in Britain, any legal fees, or flight costs — the latter of which the Home Office estimates to be at around £11,000 per migrant, including fuel and chartering planes.

The Home Office also estimates future costs of £12.6 million this year to train staff escorting migrants to the African nation followed by £1 million per year in staffing costs, and also revealed it had spent £15.3 million in set-up costs already, a figure that would rise to £23.5 million by the end of the year.

In defense of the scheme, a Home Office spokesperson said that action to deport illegal migrants was never going to be “without significant costs.”

“Unless we act, the cost of housing asylum seekers is set to reach £11 billion per year by 2026. Illegal migration costs lives and perpetuates human trafficking, and it is therefore right that we fund solutions to break this unsustainable cycle.

“We have a strong relationship with Rwanda and both sides remain absolutely determined to deliver on this partnership,” they added.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is scrambling to pass through key legislation to make deportation flights a reality ahead of the next general election which must take place within the next ten months. His government’s Safety of Rwanda Bill is currently with the House of Lords — Britain’s upper chamber in its bicameral parliament.

Following the surge of illegal migrant activity on England’s southern shores in recent years, the U.K. government is currently spending close to £7 million per day on housing migrants who arrive illegally into the country before claiming asylum.

Sunak has made “stopping the boats” one of his government’s central pledges.

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