The Rwanda Bill passed through Parliament. It has now received royal assent.

The new Rwanda Act remains highly controversial but perhaps less so than last year's Illegal Migration Act which has now prevented tens of thousands of irregular migrants claiming asylum in UK. Instead, they remain here in limbo costing the tax payer many billions a year. The new Rwanda Act provides a way of exporting this mounting problem, assuming the Rwanda Act does not fall fowl of legal challenges.

Yet the reason given for the Rwanda Act is its deterrent effect in the stopping of the small boats. Many question if there will be such a deterrent effect.

In a BBC radio interview, Michael Tomlinson MP, Minister of State for Countering Illegal Migration who is also MP for Mid Dorset, insisted there was "concrete evidence" of such deterrence because a 2022 agreement with Albania saw the numbers of Albanians in small boats drop by 90%. He said "We see almost no one from Albania getting onto a small boat."

Sadly, that actually isn't true.

Up to 2020, a thousand Albanians per year were being detained arriving in UK although very few on the small boats. Two years ago, over a period of six months 11,000 Albanians arrived on small boats, almost half the numbers crossing. That has now greatly reduced. But the latest figures still show a thousand Albanians a year arriving, the same number as five years ago. The only difference from five years ago is that now they almost all arrive on small boats.

That is not “almost no one.” This "concrete evidence" looks less than concrete.

Dr Martin Rodger

Address supplied