Press release: Home Office to amend its Safety of Rwanda policy in response to Asylum Aid’s legal action

In a win for Asylum Aid, the Home Office has agreed to amend parts of its Safety of Rwanda policy, accepting that the policy, published on 29 April 2024, had misinterpreted the Safety of Rwanda Act, which got Royal Assent on 25 April.

This comes only 10 days after the Home Office issued the policy. The Home Office has accepted that where a person makes a claim based on compelling evidence relating to their personal circumstances that Rwanda is not safe for them, the guidance is wrong to instruct caseworkers that they “must” still consider Rwanda to be safe when deciding whether the claim for asylum is inadmissible in the UK.  

The Home Office has confirmed that the individual’s reasons that Rwanda isn’t safe for them need to be considered in relation to any decision on whether their claim is inadmissible as well as in relation to any human rights decision and has accepted that its guidance needs to be amended to reflect this.  

In its response to Asylum Aid’s pre-action protocol letter, the Home Office informed the charity that while caseworkers will continue to work on cases, no decisions will be made until the amended guidance has been published and until the error Asylum Aid identifies is corrected.  

However, the Home Office has disagreed with Asylum Aid’s other challenge to the policy. Asylum Aid argued that section 4 of the Act allows an individual who is on the list to be sent to Rwanda to challenge their removal on grounds that Rwanda might send them to another country, including the one they fled from. The decision maker, Asylum Aid argues, is allowed to consider the risk of Rwanda sending an individual to another country where there is evidence that they would be at risk of torture, death or other serious human rights violations, when considering any challenge to their removal. The Home Office does not agree with this reading of the Act and has refused to amend its guidance to reflect this. Asylum Aid intends to proceed with a judicial review challenge.

In this case, Asylum Aid is represented by law firm Leigh Day.




Alison Pickup, Executive Director of Asylum Aid, said:

“While we are pleased that the Home Office agreed with us that it made an error of law, it is embarrassing that it has to roll back on its guidance only 10 days after publication. It is also concerning that they haven’t withdrawn the policy or amended it yet despite the implications it has for highly vulnerable individuals who are constantly fearful of being sent to Rwanda. As a charity that provides free and high-quality legal representation to people seeking asylum in the UK, it is extremely important to us that the Home Office properly considers evidence of individual risk in Rwanda cases, including on the grounds that they would be returned from Rwanda to the place they fled. We believe that the Safety of Rwanda Act requires this. That’s why we will now proceed with our legal challenge.”


Leigh Day solicitor Carolin Ott said:

“Our client, Asylum Aid, began its legal action due to serious concerns that the policy for removals to Rwanda adopted by the Home Office would result in those threatened with removal to Rwanda being deprived of proper consideration of their individual claims. Our client considered this to be at odds with the protections built into the Safety of Rwanda Act. The early concession made by the Home Office is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough. Asylum Aid therefore intends to proceed with its challenge to ensure that all evidence of risks faced by individuals is properly considered.”


Press Contact: or



Asylum Aid is a leading provider of high-quality legal representation to people with complex cases who are seeking asylum in the UK. For over 30 years, Asylum Aid has worked with survivors of trafficking and torture, stateless people, unaccompanied children, and other vulnerable people seeking asylum to help them gain legal protection in the UK. Since 2020, Asylum Aid is part of the Helen Bamber Foundation Group.