New study finds only 2% of those who enter the UK illegally by the Channel will be sent to Rwanda.

According to a recent estimate, Boris Johnson’s centrepiece immigration policy to transfer Channel migrants to Rwanda might result in fewer than 200 people being sent to Africa each year.

Only 2% of those who enter the UK each year are declared ‘inadmissible” by the asylum system, which is the condition that will be used to decide who may be transferred to East Africa.

Since its announcement a fortnight ago, the £120 million five-year plan has sparked a battle of words, particularly between the government and the Archbishop of Canterbury, about its morality.

Some Conservatives have also opposed it, claiming that it would not deliver good value for money.

According to The Times, a new study by the Refugee Council, which has criticised the plan, just 172 out of 8,593 refugees were judged ineligible last year.

The Home Office, on the other hand, contested the data, claiming that the number of people who may be transported to Rwanda was ‘uncapped.’ The Refugee Council, based on Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) data, projected that new legislation criminalising individuals who cross the busy Channel could result in 19,000 people being imprisoned in the UK in four years, at a cost of £835 million per year.

The refugee council’s chief executive, Enver Solomon, told The Times: ‘Punishing people, treating them like criminals and human cargo to be expelled to Rwanda, is not only inhumane, cruel and nasty, but it will do nothing to address the reasons why people take perilous journeys. People fleeing war and persecution should always have a fair hearing on British soil.’

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said the BBC had “xenophobia” in its coverage of the Rwanda immigration plan over the weekend.

Following up on her previous exchange of words with the broadcaster, the Home Secretary accused the company of ‘stereotyping’ the Central African country and ‘showing prejudice’.

She said so in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph: ‘I was quite taken aback just by the tone of [BBC journalists’] references to Rwanda.’

Adding:  ‘I could call them lazy and sloppy characterisations, but actually they’re not. 

‘I was in Parliament on Tuesday and there are undercurrents, if I may say so, of just sheer xenophobia, which I think is absolutely appalling.’

Responding to the Home Secretary’s words, A BBC spokesman said: ‘The government’s agreement to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda led to considerable public debate.

‘Journalists from the BBC and other media were there to report the story and ask questions about the plan.’  

A spokesperson for the Home Office addressed the Refugee Council’s findings: ‘Rwanda will process claims in accordance with human rights laws. It means those arriving dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily can be relocated to have their asylum claims considered and, if recognised as refugees, build their lives there. 

‘We do not recognise the figures derived from this analysis. The agreement is uncapped in terms of the numbers who may be sent to Rwanda.’