The UK Home Office has designated at least £700 million for the management of migrant arrivals via small boats until 2030, as outlined in recently disclosed commercial plans. The projections, unveiled last week, suggest that Channel crossings could persist until 2034. The plans involve commercial partners overseeing services at “permanent” facilities.
While a Home Office spokesperson refrained from commenting on an ongoing procurement project, publicly available information indicates that the department seeks a major partner to manage two large facilities in Kent until 2030, potentially extending to 2034. The disclosure signals officials’ anticipation of continued small boat arrivals.
Launched on December 4, the same day the UK signed a new treaty with Rwanda to address cross-Channel migration, the invitation to businesses underscores the government’s readiness for ongoing arrivals. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak maintains that the new Rwanda treaty and associated legislation will deter small boats from reaching the UK.
The Home Office contends that its modelling suggests nearly all appeals against deportation would fail under the revised policy. However, critics, including recently resigned immigration minister Robert Jenrick, argue the plan is “weak” and unlikely to succeed. The legislation faces a parliamentary vote on Tuesday.
The commercial plans indicate that the Home Office is seeking a partner for two significant facilities: the UK Border Force’s Western Jet Foil in Dover docks, a secure facility for initial registration and medical treatment of rescued migrants, and the Manston centre, designed for processing and accommodating up to 1,600 migrants. The costs for “wrap-around” services, including catering, security, and medical support, are estimated to be £700 million over the initial six years.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper criticised the plans, stating, “This shows even the Home Office doesn’t believe Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan is going to work. This is total Tory chaos and it’s letting the country down.” Last week, it was revealed that the Home Office paid £100 million more to Rwanda than previously disclosed.
The proposed contracts, which could extend for four additional years, indicate a potential government payout of at least £1.16 billion over ten years, though this figure is not explicitly mentioned in the available material.