Riti Patel could face an exodus of Home Office staff following the announcement of a controversial immigration deal with Rwanda, unions have warned.
The deal, which was deemed “unworkable” by the UN refugee agency, was signed by the Home Secretary on ministerial instruction due to concerns raised by officials. A ministerial directive has rarely been used and means Ms Patel must take personal responsibility for the policy.
However, union bosses have branded the immigration deal ‘divisive’ and said some civil servants may leave to protest the policy which will see those crossing the Channel illegally sent to the African state of ballast.
Dave Penman, secretary general of the Association of First Division Civil Servants (FDA) told the BBC: “Civil servants know their job is to support the government of the day.
“They sign up for this knowing they might not like what the government is doing.
“On the most divisive policies, which they clearly are, they are faced with a choice – implement or leave. That could mean somewhere else in the Home Office, another department or the service.”
The government has agreed to pay Rwanda £120m to deal with people believed to have entered the UK illegally since January 1.
A fixed cost of between £20,000 and £30,000 will be allocated to each individual for their flight and for the first three months of their stay in the country.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said the policy was “inhumane”.
He added: “We have already seen that they are willing to risk lives by sending boats back into the channel – a policy for which we had to bring them to justice. It is a heartless approach that displays complete disregard for human life that everyone must stand against.
According to the Home Office, more than 6,000 people have crossed the Channel since the start of the year, while 28,526 crossed the previous year.