UK’s “Rwanda Bill” sparks controversy and concerns about its global image

Eleanor Sa-Carneiro

On December 7th, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed the UK’s new illegal migration law, a contentious proposal that has faced obstacles but continues to persist on the political agenda. Elliot Nuertey, a Ghanaian journalist, tells the Qonversation how the UK has become less attractive as a destination for legal student migrants, as he delved into the implications of the proposed legislation and its potential impact on the UK’s international standing.

Sunak, seemingly determined to push through the legislation, even in the face of challenges such as the Supreme Court, and the media attention the push and circumventing the Court’s objections,  has sparked debate around the ongoing efforts to move the Rwanda bill forward in parliament and the uncertainty surrounding its fate. The persistent presence of this bill in political discourse raises questions about the broader implications for the UK’s global image.

Nuertey, one of many to revise his ambitions of studying in the UK, concedes this may be good news for British, acknowledging that the proposed policy appears as a positive step towards fulfilling the government’s pre-election promises.

The potential increase in the minimum wage required for skilled workers to earn to £38,000 was highlighted as a deterrent for hopeful students who intended to apply, and no longer feel welcome or hopeful, especially given the challenging global economic conditions.

Nuertey expressed concerns about the diplomatic ramifications of the proposed immigration rules. Describing them as draconian, he emphasized the potential negative impact on healthcare workers and their families. The journalist argued that the stringent rules might lead to healthcare professionals being unable to bring their dependents to the UK, which, he says, contradicts the historical image of the UK as a melting pot that welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds.

“I think that is really going to have a bad image on the UK and is going to mean that [the UK] can [be] very unattractive.”

Dubbed the Rwanda bill by mainstream media, the law is already apparently deterring many from even considering the UK, that aims to reduce legal migrants to 300,000 per year, which might be the intended effect. But the ramifications of that ae already visible. The discussion underscored the potential broader impact of the bill, raising questions about its effectiveness in addressing illegal migration while also affecting legal migrants.

Elliot Nuertey shed light on the multifaceted nature of the proposed illegal migration law in the UK and its potential repercussions on the country’s international image. As the political debate continues, the global community watches closely to see how the UK navigates these complex issues.

Watch the full episode hosted by Eleanor Sá-Carneiro on Qonversations.

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