After arriving at Kigali International Airport, asylum seekers will be handed over to the Rwandan authorities and taken to the city’s Hope Hostel.

“Then they will have the opportunity to rest, or have breakfast, clean their rooms,” Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said. “And then, at some point during the day, or the next day, they will start the orientation.”

This includes registration, Covid tests and the start of asylum applications, but also “basic information” about Rwanda, its weather and geography. They will receive details of the benefits to which they are entitled, which include a mobile phone and a monthly allowance of 100,000 Rwandan francs (about £80).

“They will be able to enroll in language classes,” Makolo said. “There are sports and games and recreational activities.

“There may be curfew hours because it’s temporary accommodation, it’s busy, it’s a shared space, but the idea is that they can walk around the neighborhood. Once they are settled we will show them the city, we will take them on a tour so they can get a feel for the city they live in and what surrounds them.

She added that there will be social workers and counselors on hand for those “in distress”.

Doris Uwicyeza Picard, the principal legal adviser to the Rwandan Ministry of Justice, added: “Once a person arrives, within 24 hours they are granted temporary residency for three months by the immigration department. The service then sends the applicant’s file to the commission within 15 days, following which the commission must rule within 45 days.

She said if an application is denied, a person can appeal within 30 days. But she stressed that the authorities are keen for people to stay in Rwanda and will therefore work to find them other opportunities for legal residence.

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Makolo said they make arrangements for families arriving with children or women who wish to be accommodated in female-only accommodation. She said they are in talks with five or six other hotels to get more accommodations.

Makolo said opponents of the program failed to see the “big picture” and that she was insulted by some of the critics.

“There is a point that we want to get across as Africans: that Africa should not be seen as a place that creates problems and creates migrants and creates refugees,” she said. “Of course we have conflicts, there are pockets of conflict everywhere. But then we have pockets of security, growth and opportunity like in Rwanda. And we want that to be known as well.

“We were asked: ‘Why don’t migrants want to come to Rwanda?’ It’s partly the narrative going around that Africa is shit, you know, for lack of a better word. And it’s not, it’s not true. It’s insulting to us, we live here and work very hard to make this country work, we want to see Africa succeed.