London: In the first in-depth analysis of a high-stakes commitment to address record numbers of people arriving in small boats, the British government revealed on Monday that it will cost on average about 169,000 pounds ($215,035) to deport each asylum seeker to Rwanda.
As part of a deal with Rwanda that was reached last year, the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants to send thousands of migrants more than 4,000 miles (6,400 km) away to that country.
The government views the strategy as essential to preventing asylum seekers from France from arriving in small boats. In response to pressure from some of his own Conservative lawmakers and the general public to address the issue, Sunak has made it one of his top five priorities.
The cost of deporting each person to Rwanda, according to the government's economic impact assessment, would include an average payment of 105,000 pounds to Rwanda for hosting each asylum seeker, 22,000 pounds for the flight and escorting, and 18,000 pounds for processing and legal costs.
The impact of discouraging others from trying to enter Britain and the rising cost of housing asylum seekers must be taken into account, according to Home Secretary (Interior Minister) Suella Braverman.
According to Braverman, if nothing is done, the annual cost of housing asylum seekers will increase from its current level of about 3.6 billion pounds to 11 billion pounds. Doing nothing is not an option, according to the economic impact assessment, she said.
The Court of Appeal will issue its ruling on the legality of the flights on Thursday.
Last June, a last-minute decision by the European Court of Human Rights, which imposed an injunction preventing any deportations until the resolution of legal proceedings in Britain, prevented the first scheduled flight to Rwanda from taking off.
The High Court in London ruled the policy was legal in December, but some human rights organisations and asylum seekers from countries like Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, and Vietnam are challenging that ruling.
A record 45,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats last year, mostly from France. More than 11,000 people have come this year so far