The Rwanda The plan to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK is back in court after it was ruled wrong to Supreme Court considered the system to be legal.
The appeal hearing ran from Monday April 24 to Thursday April 27 but the judges have not yet said when a verdict will be handed down.
Flights are currently unable to take off to Rwanda while legal proceedings are ongoing.
It comes as the Minister of the Interior Suella Braverman shared her vision for conservatism at a right-wing conference in London on 15 May, referring to her own parents’ arrival in the UK via “legal and controlled migration”.
This is how events unfolded up to this point, starting with the announcement of the scheme in April 2022.
April 14: After a drastic increase in the number of people crossing the Channel, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a plan to deport migrants arriving in small boats to Rwanda for their claims to be processed. He says this would act as a “very deterrent effect”.
June 15: The first deportation flight to Rwanda is canceled just minutes before takeoff following a ruling by a judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
August 23: The Ministry of Defense says 1,295 migrants made the crossing in 27 boats, another new record that remains the highest for a single day.
August 25: Former Minister of the Interior Priti Patel announces a deal with the Albanian government to send back migrants in a bid to curb the numbers arriving from that country, with concerns that they account for 60 per cent of all arrivals in the UK.
November 14: New Home Secretary Suella Braverman signs an agreement with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmian allowing British officers to join French coastal patrols.
November 23: Braverman admits the government has “failed to control our borders”, but tells MPs they are determined to “fix” the problem, following criticism of overcrowding at the Manston processing center in Kent.
December 14: Four people die and 39 others are rescued after their dinghy capsizes in the canal.
December 19: The Supreme Court rules that the government’s Rwanda policy is legal, but orders a review of the cases of the first eight deportees.
December 31: Some 45,755 migrants crossed the Channel during the year, according to government figures.
January 4: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces that legislation to deal with the migrant crisis is one of five key priorities for his premiership.
March 7: Braverman tells MPs that the Illegal Migration Bill will introduce a legal duty to remove those who arrive in the country illegally, preventing them from applying for asylum in the UK.
March 10: Tensions rise as Mr Sunak defends the policy as “the right approach” against criticism from sports pundit Gary Lineker. Lineker’s intervention led to a high-profile impartiality row from which he was suspended Today’s match. A number of his colleagues, including Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, boycotted the show and others in solidarity with the presenter and he was later reinstated.
March 12: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt does not rule out the possibility of children being detained under the new plans, which would see those crossing the Channel eligible for asylum only in a “safe” third country such as Rwanda.
March 13: The plan is criticized by Tory Prime Minister Theresa May, who says it is “not enough” to send people to claim asylum in Rwanda and warns Britain is “closing the door” on victims of modern slavery.
March 14: A High Court judge rules that asylum seekers facing removal to Rwanda can appeal the Home Office’s decision over alleged errors in assessing whether relocation poses a risk to their human rights, dealing another blow to the plan.
March 17: Braverman doubles down on deportation policies during a visit to Rwanda despite the plan remaining embroiled in legal battles, claiming the £140m deal will be a “powerful deterrent” to those trying to cross the Channel.
March 18: Braverman is given a tour of potential migrant housing after the land was bought by the Rwandan government, before meeting President Paul Kagame and her counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.
April 14: New figures show the Rwanda deal is failing to deter asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel a year after it was signed. As of early April, nearly 5,000 people had made the trip since the start of 2023, which is almost exactly the same number seen at the same time in 2022.
April 15: Small boat migrants previously threatened with deportation to Rwanda have been accepted into Britain’s asylum system after months of living in limbo. They were among thousands of asylum seekers sent “notices of intent” as they passed through countries, such as France, where Britain claims they could have stopped before crossing the English Channel. Their messages were then withdrawn.
April 24: The next stage in the legal battle over the Rwanda deal began, with the Court of Appeal to reconsider whether it is safe to send asylum seekers to the country. Suella Braverman widened the scope of the agreement since it was ruled legal by the High Court in December 2022, meaning it could also apply to victims of modern slavery and other small boat migrants.
April 24: Raza Husain KC told the Court of Appeal that Rwanda is not a safe country to receive asylum seekers from the UK and the High Court was wrong to declare the scheme legal. The plaintiffs allege that the Home Office breached several legal obligations when it decided Rwanda was a safe country to host refugees, and failed to properly investigate the outcome of a similar agreement with Israel that ran from 2013 to 2018.
May 7: The former head of the British army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, attacks the government’s plan to send migrants who arrived on small boats to Rwanda – saying the country still lives under the “shadow of genocide”.
May 15: Braverman presents his plan for conservatism at a right-wing conference in central London. She spoke of her own parents’ arrival in Britain “through legal and controlled migration” and added that immigrants should “learn English and understand British social norms and customs”.