Thank you for contacting me about processing asylum claims in Rwanda. I have been concerned for a long time about people trafficking across Europe and we have seen the devastating impact in the deaths that it causes, but also the misery to the families left behind when their life savings have been spent in the hope that this will bring a better life for their loved one. Some of them are now in debt to the traffickers for many years. We have to find better ways of helping those in need around the world which is why I am such a supporter of our aid budget which is transformational in many countries. Having been brought up in developing countries, I have seen this at first hand.
For those from war torn countries, we have a proud history of supporting those in need of protection; our resettlement programmes have provided safe and legal routes to better futures for hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe. Since 2015, over 185,000 people through safe and legal routes, including from Syria, Hong Kong, Afghanistan and more recently, Ukraine.
However, we cannot focus our support on those who need it most, or effectively control our borders, without tackling illegal immigration which is facilitated by people smugglers- serious organised criminals that profit form human misery who do not care about people drowning in the Channel or suffocating in lorries or containers. This type of illegal immigration also puts unsustainable pressures on our public services and local communities. Every day, the broken asylum system costs the tax payer almost £5 million in hotel accommodation alone.
We need to try new ideas so I am pleased that we have the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda. Under the partnership, people who enter the UK illegally, including by small boat across the Channel, may have their asylum claim considered in Rwanda rather than in the UK, with a view to receiving the protection they need in Rwanda if their claim is granted.
We will be investing £120 million into the economic development and growth of Rwanda, with funding also provided to support the delivery of asylum operations, accommodation and integration, similar to the costs incurred in the UK for these services. Furthermore, it is the case that Rwanda has one of the fastest-growing economies and enterprise cultures, with growing trade links with the UK, which this scheme will complement as part of the Government’s Global Britain agenda.
Rwanda is a fundamentally safe and secure country with respect for the rule of law.  Under this agreement, Rwanda will process claims in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention, national and international human rights laws, and will ensure their protection from inhuman and degrading treatment or being returned to the place they originally fled.  
Rwanda has a credible track record of hosting refugees and working constructively with the UN Refugee Agency to provide food, healthcare and jobs with over 130,000 refugees recently resettled. The EU and UN both resettle people in Rwanda. Since 2019 Rwanda has been working with the UN Refugee Agency and the African Union to support over 500 refugees and asylum seekers evacuated from Libya, under the Emergency Transit Mechanism. They are housed at a dedicated centre providing mental health services, legal assistance, employment training and opportunities. Rwanda has also supported around 30,000 Burundian refugees who have also transited to the centre since 2015.
I hope that these new measures, combined with the reforms to the asylum system and the changes to our laws in the Nationality and Borders Bill, will help deter illegal entry into the UK. In doing so it will help break the business model of the criminal smuggling gangs, protect the lives of those they endanger, ensure continued support for the truly vulnerable, and enhance our ability to remove those with no right to be in the UK.