Asylum seekers in Calais still aim for UK despite Rwanda plans, poll finds


Most asylum seekers in Calais are still hoping to make it to the UK despite plans that could see them sent to Rwanda, according to a new survey.

A charity polled those waiting in migrant camps in northern France in the days since the British government passed a law making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive without permission.

Care4Calais found most had heard of the deal with Rwanda, which will see people who arrive “illegally” in the UK under new immigration rules sent to the east African country to apply for asylum there instead.

Three quarters of those polled said the plans would not put them off making the Channel crossing, the charity said.

Care4Calais said it did not find the results surprising.

“Rwanda is getting headlines but at its core it’s really just another in a long line of deterrence policies announced by this government over the last few years. And let’s face it – they’ve all failed,” it said in a tweet.

Around 350 were found crossing the Channel in small boats on Sunday. More people thought to be migrants were seen being brought in to Dover on Monday.

It came after what is believed to have been an 11-day break in activity, when no crossings were recorded amid reports of strong winds and choppy seas.

The Home Office is facing two legal challenges – including one involving Care4Calais – over its plans to send asylum seekers overseas to have their claims decided.

The proposal has been met with criticisms from the United Nations refugee agency, the Church of England, charities and Home Office staff since it was revealed last month.

Care4Calais said they wanted to see safe and legal routes for those fleeing dangerous situations instead.

“The answer to many problems in Calais is to let refugees apply for visas to cross the Channel safely, because now – unless you’re Ukrainian – there’s no safe way for a refugee to get to the UK and claim asylum,” it said.

“That would put people smugglers out of business and save lives.”

The Home Office has been approached for comment.


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