Enhanced Manston Migrant Center Secured for Extended Use Through 2030 Despite Rwanda Proposal


Plans for Expansion of Manston Migrant Centre in Kent Revealed

Plans to expand the controversial Manston migrant centre in Kent for use until at least 2030 have been revealed in new Government documents. This revelation comes in light of Home Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge to move forward with the Rwanda deportation scheme, aimed at sending asylum seekers who arrive in the UK by small boat to the African country.

The Government’s Proposed National Reception Centre

The publicly available Government procurement documents indicate an intent to launch a new “National Reception Centre” at Manston, designated for use until at least 2030 to process individuals arriving in the UK on small boats across the English Channel. The contracts on offer to firms to run the centre and similar tasks at UK Border Force’s rescue and arrivals base in Dover docks, referred to as Western Jet Foil, is worth £700m and would encompass catering, security, and medical support.

Details on Manston ‘Transformation’

According to the BBC, the Government is likely to appoint a contractor to run the site from early next year, embarking on a six-year contract with a potential extension of four years to 2034. A previous report by i had already exposed plans for expanding Manston into a “residential” facility to detain small boat migrants before their deportation to Rwanda. The Home Office is currently engaged in “transforming the site at Manston to establish permanent, purpose-built facilities”, as stated in previous Government documents.

Cost of the New Plans

The projected cost to operate the arrivals centres is estimated at £700m over six years, with additional expenditures potentially differing once the procurement process begins. The £700m cost is spread across various responsibilities, covering operating Manston, operating the Western Jet Foil processing centre at Dover, and medical services at both facilities. Notably, the projected costs at Manston do not encompass building maintenance of facilities or any additional staffing costs for the Government at the site. However, the true cost remains unknown until the procurement process gets underway.

Impact on Rwanda

The latest contracting process for Manston comes amidst Rishi Sunak’s persistent efforts to push through the Rwanda deportation plan, despite legal challenges and setbacks. Following a string of legal defeats that have impeded the policy, Mr. Sunak has announced plans for “emergency legislation” after the Supreme Court ruled that Rwanda was not a safe country. The renewed treaty with the Rwandan government, entailing an additional £100m and certain assurances, has been marred by criticism from both the Conservative right and Tory moderates, leaving the Prime Minister in a precarious position.

Government’s Response and Public Reaction

The details uncovered in the documents follow a series of denials from the Government regarding the expansion of Manston into a more permanent residential facility for asylum seekers. Despite previous government denials, the contracts confirm the Home Office’s current efforts in transforming the site at Manston to establish permanent, purpose-built facilities. However, in response to recent media reports, a Home Office spokesperson refrained from commenting on the ongoing procurement project.

In light of the BBC’s findings, Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has voiced her concerns, stating that this reveals a lack of confidence in Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan. The entire situation has caused discomfort within the Conservative party and has been met with criticism from various quarters, reflecting the complexities and challenges inherent in the Government’s immigration policies.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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