Britain tenders $100m contract to transport migrants

A 2021 photo shows Britain’s Border Force bringing in migrants rescued from the English Channel, in Dover, England. PHOTO: NYTIMES

LONDON - Britain has tendered a £78 million (S$127 million) contract for the transport of migrants to partner countries, including Rwanda, as part of its plans to detain and deport people arriving in small boats across the Channel.

Britain last week set out details of a new law barring the entry of asylum seekers arriving in small boats, a proposal some charities say could be impractical and criminalise the efforts of thousands of genuine refugees.

The plans aim to detain and deport arrivals, either to their homeland or to so-called safe third countries.

British Interior Minister Suella Braverman will visit Rwanda this weekend to discuss an agreement where Britain will relocate migrants who arrive without permission.

In 2022, Britain agreed a deal to send tens of thousands of migrants more than 6,000km away to Rwanda as part of a £120 million deal, though no flights have taken off as opponents have raised legal challenges against the policy.

The tender, dated March 8 and reviewed by Reuters on Friday, is for the “contract for the provision of in-country and overseas escorting services in relation to Migration and Economic Development Partnerships (MEDP) and other immigration services”.

A potential three-year contract has an estimated value of £78 million.

Britain’s only current MEDP is with Rwanda.

After a record 45,000 migrants arrived in Britain in 2022 on small boats, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said finding a solution is a top priority.

The government spends more than £2 billion a year to accommodate them. REUTERS

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.