The UK Government Will Pay Influencers to Tell Migrants Not to Come

The Home Office has reportedly set aside around £570,000 to pay rappers, comedians and TV personalities on TikTok.
A photo of a man hugging three young boys on a beach having just got off a migrant boat.
Photo: Henry Nicholls

The Home Office is planning to pour taxpayer’s money into TikTok campaigns, according to The Times, by getting influencers to post videos that discourage people from illegally migrating to the UK.


This dystopian sponcon will be part of a £1 million advertising offensive to be introduced in the spring, which will accompany the controversial plan to send asylum seekers – many of whom are fleeing war and poverty – to Rwanda.

The Times reports that the TikTok campaign will communicate the hostile environment that awaits any migrants to the UK via the chirpy and relatable posts of online opinion-formers. The content won’t be UK government-branded but, as the article states, “they will need to confirm their affiliation to the Home Office in the interests of transparency”.

The focus will be on countries that account for a significant proportion of illegal migration to the UK, including Albania, Iraq, Egypt, and Vietnam, with future plans to do the same in Turkey and India. To pay the influencers, the Home Office has reportedly set aside an eye-watering budget of £570,000.

Explaining the questionable social media plan, a Home Office spokesperson says: “Smugglers frequently use social media to peddle lies and promote their criminal activities, and it is vital that we utilise the same platforms to inform migrants about the truths about crossing the Channel and coming to the UK illegally.

“The relentless action we have taken reduced crossings by 36 percent last year, which saw similar weather conditions to 2022. We make no apologies for using every means necessary to stop the boats and save lives.”

A document viewed by The Times showed that government has already contracted with a marketing agency called Multicultural Marketing Consultancy to draw up a shortlist of Albanian rappers, comedians and TV personalities it wishes to enlist. However, when The i newspaper contacted Fabio Daja, one of the shortlisted lifestyle TikTokers from Albania, he replied: “OMG … What the actual f**k. I haven’t been contacted by any government.”

The 20-year-old architecture student and influencer said he would reject such an offer should it arrive. “I find it a very sensitive issue when it comes to refugees trying to cross the border,” he says to The i. “My instant answer, off the top of my head, would be no.”