First deportation flight to Rwanda to take place on 14 June

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First deportation flight to Rwanda to take place on 14 June

The first deportation flight to Rwanda carrying people arriving in the UK without authorisation is scheduled to depart on 14 June, Priti Patel has announced.

A group of asylum seekers have been sent formal notices by the Home Office advising them they will be relocated to the east African country, officials said.

There are few details about the number of people expected to be sent to Rwanda in this first flight, and how they have been identified. The government is bracing for a flurry of legal challenges over their removal, as officials said those who will be removed are already in detention.

The Home Office has begun issuing formal removal direction letters to those who are about to go to Rwanda, where they can rebuild their lives in safety, a statement from the department said.

It is the next legal step after notices of intent were issued to dozens of people who arrived in the UK by irregular means.

The timing of the announcement will cause suspicion. It comes amid growing pressure on Boris Johnson for a policy success, amid claims that he could face a vote of no confidence as soon as next week.

Patel said in a statement that the world-leading partnership with Rwanda is part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system and break the evil people-smugglers business model.

Today s announcement is another important step towards delivering that partnership and, while we know attempts will be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to deliver what the British public expects. The removal direction letter confirms that someone will be going to Rwanda and when, according to officials.

People who are told they may be subject to the Rwanda removal policy have been raised by campaigners who have raised concerns about access to legal advice and mental health support.

An Afghan man who came to the UK as a child told the Independent he tried to take his own life after being told he was going to be deported to Rwanda. Hakim Khan, 32, said he would rather die than die after he was arrested at Brook House removal centre this month.

Home Office officials say they are speaking with all individuals to make sure that the process is understood and people are given the appropriate support ahead of departure.

There is a generous support package, including up to five years of training, accommodation, and healthcare on arrival in Rwanda. The statement said that the UK is investing an initial 120 m into the economic development and growth of Rwanda under this partnership.

When the deal with Rwanda was announced last month, Johnson claimed it would result in thousands of people being sent 4,000 miles 6,500 km to have their claims processed.

Ministers hoped to see early evidence that the idea of sending a person to Rwanda would break the business model of people-traffickers operating in the Channel.

Since April 14th, more than 4,850 people have reached the UK in small boats since the Rwanda plans were unveiled. That is more than two and half times the number that crossed in the same period last year, and maintains the same pace of increase since the beginning of the year.

Samaritans can be contacted in the UK and Ireland by emailing jo samaritans.org or jo samaritans.ie.