First asylum seeker sent from UK to Rwanda on £3,000 voluntary scheme

The bill which became law last week has proved to be controversial (Picture: Getty Images)

The first asylum seeker has been sent to Rwanda from the UK but the government paid him £3,000 to go.

The controversial Rwanda bill became law last week despite fierce criticism following a parliamentary showdown between the House of Lords and House of Commons.

Ahead of the bill passing, the prime minister said flights to Rwanda would take off within 10 to 12 weeks, which misses the original spring target.

But now The Sun reports that the man of African origin claimed asylum in the UK but was rejected at the end of last year and accepted the offer to go to Rwanda.

He left the UK on Monday but the British taxpayer will have to pay £3,000 for this volunteer to go to Rwanda.

It is part of a side scheme different to the Safety of Rwanda Act for those who have gone through the asylum process and had permission rejected, rather than for those who have illegally entered the UK by crossing the Channel on small boats.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has hit out at the news and said: ‘The Tories are so desperate to get any flight off to Rwanda before the local elections that they have now just paid someone to go.

‘British taxpayers aren’t just forking out £3,000 for a volunteer to board a plane, they are also paying Rwanda to provide him with free board and lodgings for the next five years. This extortionate pre-election gimmick is likely to be costing on average £2m per person.

‘Former Tory Home Office ministers warned that the government’s plan was just to get token flights off before a general election. Now we know what they mean.’

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Nigel Farage branded this news a ‘government spin’ and said: ‘Don’t be conned by this new government spin on the Rwanda deal.

‘This African man, who did not even cross the Channel, was refused asylum and has voluntarily accepted £3,000 and free board.

‘It won’t stop the boats.’

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