Watch: Rishi Sunak meets with Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer for illegal migration talks

Lucy Leeson
Tuesday 21 May 2024 12:47 BST
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Watch again as Rishi Sunak meets Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna today (21 May) to discuss illegal migration.

The prime minister’s visit follows an announcement that the UK government will give an extra £25m to the National Crime Agency to help tackle people smuggling gangs.

However, the main reason of the trip is to promote the use of third-country deportation schemes - such as the government's Rwanda plan.

The Vienna meeting comes after 15 EU countries, including Austria, signed a letter calling on the European Commission to tighten migration policy and to look at third-country schemes.

Mr Sunak said the UK was “leading the charge with partners across the continent to meet the challenges caused by intolerable levels of illegal migration”.

He added: “Our disruption of the cruel trade of criminal gangs, together with our Rwanda scheme, are part of a deterrent to stop illegal migration once and for all.

“It is the British public who should make decisions about who crosses our borders.”

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act passed into law last month and is aimed at protecting the scheme against legal challenges.

Ministers hope the first flight to the east African nation will be able to take off in early July, with a regular pattern of further flights to follow.

These one-way journeys to Rwanda are aimed at deterring migrants from crossing the English Channel in small boats, though critics have contested whether it will have this effect.

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