The Home Office has been in hot water of late over its campaigns and it looks like its problems are set to continue as it struggles to find the right angle and embrace the positives of UK immigration, while continuing to police those that abuse the system.
Its latest troubles have arisen over a new poster campaign that is being displayed in Glasgow and Hounslow immigration centres. The posters state: “Is life here hard? Going home is simple.” Another advises immigrants to “ask about going home”.
While the Home Office states that the posters were designed with the intention of informing migrants about the “sensitive advice and assistance” available to “help them return home with dignity”, they have largely been received negatively.
Scottish politicians are among those who have criticised the campaign, with ministers calling the posters “shameful”. Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin and a member of the cross-party group on asylum seekers in the Scottish Parliament, told the Guardian: “Very many asylum seekers are fleeing for their lives, escaping violence and persecution. To be greeted with posters urging them to return to the countries they have just fled is totally inappropriate and appalling.”
Rachel Robinson, policy officer with civil liberties campaign group Liberty, added: “Dismissive posters encouraging asylum seekers to go home reveal a depressing culture of disbelief in the Home Office.”
The poster campaign follows an earlier campaign - for which the Home Office was also heavily criticised - when vans toured six London boroughs and displayed the message: "In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest."