First migrants to be sent from UK to Rwanda on June 14

STORY: The first flight carrying asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda is expected to take place in two weeks, the UK government has said.

That's under a plan announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government in April that has drawn criticism from both inside and outside his Conservative Party, as well as many charities.

The UK's Home Office said on Tuesday (May 30) that an initial group of migrants had started to receive formal letters telling them they are being sent to Rwanda to, quote, "rebuild their lives in safety".

In a statement, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the first flight is expected to take place on June 14.

The British government says the scheme is designed to break people-smuggling networks.

Last year 28,000 people made the crossing from mainland Europe to the UK, mostly in small boats.

The government has dismissed criticism that the policy lacks compassion, saying it's worse to encourage a system where many asylum seekers are exploited by people smugglers.

The Home Office did not say how many asylum seekers would be on the first flight to Rwanda.

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