Refugees facing hopelessness after mistakenly receiving letters of deportation to Rwanda.

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Asylum seekers have been left “in despair” after receiving letters sent in error by the Home Office telling them they faced removal to Rwanda, the Guardian has learned.

The Labour party accused the government of being in chaos following the admission from Home Office sources that the letters were sent out by mistake.

Numerous individuals informed the Guardian that they had received the correspondence within the past few days, and legal representatives have already started working on related cases. Certain individuals expressed their belief that the Home Office is preparing for a flight to Rwanda in the near future, coinciding with the progression of the contentious Safety of Rwanda legislation in parliament.

According to sources at the Home Office, the Guardian was informed that the letters were mistakenly sent and should be ignored. They also mentioned that additional letters would be sent to explain the situation.

A Syrian man received a letter from the Home Office immigration enforcement team in Glasgow on 19 January, causing him fear and distress upon reading it.

“He expressed his distress upon receiving it and shared that he has been unable to sleep for almost a week, consumed with thoughts of what might happen if he is compelled to go to Rwanda.”

Over 18 months ago, the man arrived in the UK. Other Syrians who arrived around the same time have had their cases expedited and have been granted refugee status.

According to the letter, the man may be transferred to Rwanda as part of a partnership between Rwanda and the UK that focuses on migration and economic development. Rwanda has consented to receiving him.

The statement states: “At this moment, we will not be accepting your client’s case into the UK system.”

Some refugees may be afraid of being deported to Rwanda, but they believe that the risk of being forcibly removed would not discourage them. The number of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats decreased in 2023 compared to 2022, but there are indications that more asylum seekers are using alternative methods, such as lorries, to enter the UK due to heightened security at the French border.

Maria Wilby, the head of Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrant Action, reported that a number of her clients had received letters from the home office. She also mentioned that a previous letter sent to asylum seekers in 2022 had led to one of them attempting suicide.

She stated that the consequences of sending letters to individuals informing them of their relocation to Rwanda are substantial and should not be disregarded. Acknowledging that these letters were a mistake does not alleviate the anguish experienced by those who received them.

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According to Ben Nelson, a legal representative from Duncan Lewis, several of his clients have also been sent the letters. He stated that receiving such correspondence not only harms the mental well-being of asylum seekers, but it also leaves them unsure of when or if their claim will be properly reviewed in the UK. In some cases, individuals have been waiting for 18 months with no advancement on their claims.

The opposition’s spokesperson on immigration, Stephen Kinnock, stated that the government was experiencing chaos.

“He stated that this recent error of mistakenly sending letters to asylum seekers may result in further legal delays, and it is evident that they do not have a strategy in place to initiate flights to Rwanda.”

“They may attempt to place responsibility on our legal system, the French, the opposition, or even football analysts, but the truth is that the fault ultimately lies with a home secretary prone to making mistakes and a prime minister who is clearly unprepared.”


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