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Rwanda removals and voluntary departure - Facts for people who are worried and where to get help

Updated: May 16

As this situation changes constantly, we will keep this up to date with the latest information when we get it. This is current as at the 15/05/2024.


As a charity that works with children and young people, this factsheet is specific to that group of people. You may want to look here and here for resources for adults.


It is very important that if you receive a notice about removal to Rwanda or if you receive a call offering you a voluntary relocation that you seek legal advice.


Key facts


  • At the moment children under the age of 18 are not at risk of removal to Rwanda.

  • Families with children under the age of 18 are also not at risk of removal to Rwanda.

  • Children who are age disputed and are currently being treated as adults by the Home Office may be at risk and they should seek immediate advice and support with their age dispute. Young people who have an age dispute can be referred to our age dispute project.


What is the government's Rwanda plan?


The UK government has passed the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024. This is part of their plans to remove certain groups of people to Rwanda. Since the passing of the bill, some people have been detained by the Home Office under a 'Rwanda notice' which means that they intend to remove that person to Rwanda.


The bill was controversial and as a sector, we have a lot of worries about the bill and how it was made into law. The act declares Rwanda a safe country, whilst limiting the routes people have to appeal decisions and notices that they receive.


Currently, the Government has not removed anyone to Rwanda. However, they have begun to detain people who they intend to remove there.


If you want to know more about the plan, then Right to Remain have produced a thorough write up of what we all know so far about the Rwanda plan and how it might work.


We are also aware of a separate scheme running, where some people have received calls from the Home Office offering them a voluntary departure to Rwanda. This is not to be confused with forced removals, but the Home Office has phoned people to offer them a voluntary relocation to Rwanda. If you receive a call from the Home Office, you should seek legal advice.


Who is affected / at risk of removal to Rwanda?


Not everyone is at risk of removal or the threat of removal to Rwanda. For instance, at the moment, we are not worried that families with children or children who are unaccompanied will be removed to Rwanda.


Adults are at risk if they;

  • Have an outstanding asylum claim made after 1st January 2022.

  • People who have had their claim refused, withdrawn or treated as withdrawn who have no outstanding appeals or fresh claim.


The law says that certain criteria must be met;


  • You claimed asylum after 1st January 2022.

  • Your journey to the UK can be described as dangerous (this means things like small boat crossings and other routes that could be dangerous.).

  • You have not received a decision on your asylum claim, had your main asylum interview or received an asylum questionnaire.

  • You are not a child, or part of a family with a child under the age of 18. In addition to the above the Home Office updated their guidance on the 13 May 2024 to include people whose claim has been refused, withdrawn or treated as withdrawn, with no pending appeals or fresh claim.


It is important to note that this situation is constantly changing and we receive different information about groups of people and those at risk all the time. So this can be subject to change. We will update this information as we get new information.


Those who are at risk will receive a notice from the Home Office, which explains that they intend to remove someone to Rwanda. If you receive a notice like this, it is very important that you get legal advice.


Those who do receive notice of potential removal to Rwanda and those who the government are considering for removal are at risk of being detained in immigration detention. For more information for adults, please see here.


Age disputed young people


As a charity for children and young people we are most concerned about the impact of the Rwanda plan on age disputed young people, who are currently being treated as an adult by the Home Office.


This group of young people should seek immediate help and support with their age dispute regardless of whether they have received a Rwanda notice. You can contact us for advice and support.


Care leavers

There is limited information specific to people who were in local authority care and have now left care and are an adult. There is nothing to say there are any special exemptions for people who have left care and may be for instance a former relevant child.


Adults who receive a notice / who are detained - Advice and support


It is important that you seek l;egal advice as soon as you can. A number of organisations have set up specialist projects to help people who have received a Rwanda notice and provide advice.


Bail for Immigration Detainees

This service is for people who have been detained and have received a Rwanda notice.


Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

0207 553 7472 (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 10am-1pm


Wilsons LLP

0208 808 7535 or email rwandareferrals@wilsonllp.co.uk


Duncan Lewis Solicitors

02072752570


Voluntary relocation to Rwanda

This is separate to people who will receive a Rwanda notice. However, the Home Office have been contacting people and offering them voluntary relocation to Rwanda. This is largely affecting, from what we can tell, people who have been refused asylum in the UK.


Again, to our knowledge, this does not affect children under the age of 18 or families with a child under the age of 18.



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