Rwanda policy leading to asylum seekers going underground

2 May 2024

UK ministers have acknowledged for the first time that they have begun detaining asylum seekers in Glasgow and other cities across the UK to be removed to Rwanda, prompting demonstrations outside Home Office buildings. This has prompted fears that asylum seekers will simply go underground and become undocumented permanently.

Nationwide operations began on Monday of this week to detain adult men and women, with more activity due to be carried out over the next 11 weeks leading up to a one-way flight to East Africa.

Officials refused to say how many people had been held so far. Still, sources said there had been “dozens” of detentions across the UK, in cities including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol. Enforcement action is said to have occurred in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In a further development, the senior civil servants’ union has applied for a judicial review against the government’s Rwanda plan.

The FDA has said its members could violate the civil service code if they follow a minister’s demands to ignore an urgent injunction from Strasbourg banning deportation.

Several asylum seekers who turned up for routine Home Office appointments on Monday were detained and told that they would be sent to Rwanda.

The Rwanda scheme is estimated to be costing more than £500m over five years.

Demonstrations against the removals are taking place nationwide, including outside immigration reporting centres in Glasgow, Liverpool, Hounslow, and the East Midlands immigration office in Loughborough. 

Concerns are growing for a Palestinian couple from Gaza who have not been heard from since 22 April, after phoning a family member to say they had been detained in Belfast. They are expecting their first child in the summer. Their family are worried that they may have been sent to Rwanda. Positive Action in Housing is making enquiries to try to locate the couple’s whereabouts. 

If you or anyone you know is worried about removal to Rwanda please contact or ask to speak to a member of the casework team on 0141 353 2220

Please indicate your consent to this site’s use of cookies

Some cookies are essential for our site to function. We also use cookies for functionality and for performance measurement.