THE HOME Secretary has come under fire from politicians and campaigners over her plans to transport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Priti Patel is in the east African country today to mark the agreement made with the Rwandan government.

It will see some people who try to come to the UK to seek asylum transported more than 4000 miles away, with an initial £120 million to be given to the Rwandan government under a trial scheme.

Under the proposal, Rwanda would take responsibility for those the Home Office selects for "resettlement" and put them through an asylum process.

If they are successful, they will have long-term accommodation in Rwanda - not the UK. 

The Rwandan government said migrants will be "entitled to full protection under Rwandan law, equal access to employment, and enrolment in healthcare and social care services".

The final plan is very different to what initially was thought to be a solution for housing people temporarily while their applications for asylum were processed in the UK. 

It now appears the government hopes to send thousands of people who try to cross the Channel in small boats to Rwanda permanently.

The Home Office believes existing asylum law will be enough to implement the plan, but questions remain about the legality of the scheme.

Asylum seekers who remain in the UK while their claims are considered could be housed in stricter reception centres under the plans. The first will reportedly open in the village of Linton-on-Ouse, in North Yorkshire.

Campaigners and opposition politicians have been quick in their outrage about the scheme, arguing that it will subject vulnerable people to violence and is against their human rights.

The Scottish Refugee Council said its staff had been left devastated by the announcement, and the policy was a “very clear breach of international law”.

Sabir Zazai, its Chief Executive, added: “It is state-sanctioned violence in practice.

“That this government is choosing to model its asylum policy on Australia’s, a failed system mired by well documented serious human rights abuses, is shocking.

“Once again, the government is stepping back from its legal and moral obligations and shunting responsibilities onto other bodies, in this case, a country which has only a fraction of the wealth and resources.  

“A truly global Britain would proudly play a leading role in international protection, and create a fair and efficient asylum system of which we can all be proud and which would cost far less than throwing money at this doomed venture.”

He added: “The timing of this announcement is shamefully political. As pressure mounts on those at the top of this government, they are using the rights and the lives of refugees to deflect from their own political woes. This is utterly reprehensible.”

Opposition politicians have also suggested the announcement has been made in an attempt to distract from Mr Johnson’s own personal woes.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael MP said:“It is depressingly predictable for Boris Johnson to try and distract from his lies and lawbreaking by announcing new plans to treat refugees appallingly.

“These dystopian proposals will be expensive for taxpayers, while doing nothing to stop dangerous Channel crossings or combat the smuggling and trafficking gangs. After almost three years of posturing, Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have only made the problems worse.

“The UK has a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need. Thousands of families are opening their homes to refugees, but this Conservative Government is slamming the door in their face.”

Labour MP Lucy Powell said the announcement was “less about dealing with small boats and more about dealing with the Prime Minister’s own sinking boat.”

The shadow cabinet minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is quite obviously a pretty desperate attempt by the Prime Minister to distract from his law-breaking and I don’t think there would be many of your listeners that wouldn’t take it with a large dose of scepticism.

“It’s a plan that might sound good in a focus group and would certainly grab the headlines because it’s very controversial and contestable – but in reality, it is unworkable, expensive, and unethical.

“It will end up costing us a lot more money in the long run and it won’t deal with the issues of the very, very poor decision-making that is happening in the Home Office.”

Nicola Sturgeon said the plans were “despicable” while Humza Yousaf, UK Health Secretary, suggested the UK Government was “institutionally racist”.

Mr Yousaf tweeted: “UK Govt rightly provides asylum and refuge to Ukrainians fleeing war, but wants to send others seeking asylum thousands of miles away to Rwanda for ‘processing’.

“And you still question whether this heartless Tory Govt is institutionally racist?”