First Rwanda flight to depart June 14 as migrants told they can 'rebuild lives in safety'

Credit: PA

The UK will begin sending illegal immigrants to Rwanda from next month, the Home Office has said, with the first flight expected to depart on June 14.

The plan for sending migrants 4,376 miles to Rwanda has been met with widespread criticism, with some charities questioning the country's human rights record, but the Home Office says those who arrive there will be able to "rebuild their lives in safety".

The first migrants due to be sent their have received formal removal directions from the Home Office, the department confirmed in a statement.

"People who have taken dangerous, unnecessary, and illegal journeys, including crossing the Channel, are among those being relocated there," the Home Office said.

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The government described the move as the "final administrative step" in its partnership with the east African nation, whereby people who are deemed to have entered the UK illegally will be encouraged to rebuild their lives thousands of miles away.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Our world-leading partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system and break the evil people-smugglers' business model.

"Today's announcement is another critical step towards delivering that partnership and, while we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect."

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by the RNLI, following a small boat incident in the Channel.

Asylum seekers who face being sent to Rwanda are being given just seven days to provide reasons in writing as to why they shouldn't be deported, documentation obtained by ITV News early this week suggests.

People are being handed a "notice of intent" warning that their decision to travel through a safe country - usually France - before arriving in the UK could make their claim inadmissible.

The documents make it explicit that people will be penalised for taking risks in their travels to Britain by adding: "If the journey you have made to the UK may be described as having been dangerous, you may be eligible for relocation."

The letters show that people detained have seven days to submit information, while those outside of detention have 14.

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to Hope House Credit: PA

After that their cases can be concluded as inadmissible. However, it could be sometime before flights actually begin heading to Rwanda because of legal challenges. 

The government had been forced to delay its first deportation flights to Rwanda after campaigners lodged a legal campaign against the controversial policy.

It comes as an inquiry is launched into the handling of the deal amid accusations of Parliament being bypassed.

Priti Patel and Rwandan minister for foreign affairs, Vincent Biruta, signing a migration and economic development partnership. Credit: PA

Priti Patel was previously forced to issue a formal instruction for the Home Office to proceed with her policy to send asylum seekers arriving by boat to Rwanda.

Due in part to the most senior civil servant in her department believing there was not enough evidence to absolutely prove its effectiveness.

A government source confirmed ITV News' exclusive revelation that the policy was only able to proceed with a "ministerial direction" - which is used when the permanent secretary (in this case Matthew Rycroft) has specific concerns that means they ask the minister to sign off the spending proposal.

In this case there was not enough evidence to prove the key aim of the policy - that sending asylum seekers to Rwanda would deter others from trying to make dangerous crossings by boat.