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New UK immigration chief to lead digital rollout

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It’s understood that the Home Office is set to appoint a director general for a newly merged post. A key responsibility for the new appointee will be to lead the final stages of the Home Office’s beleaguered digital borders scheme. 


The government agency will combine its Border Force and UK immigration enforcement efforts and is seeking a ‘collaborative and engaging leader’ to take on the challenge. According to the job advert, a salary of £149,000 is on offer for the new director general of Border Force and immigration enforcement.

Despite the merging of two job roles, Border Force and immigration enforcement will continue to operate as independent divisions on the frontline. However, major planning and support functions will be combined into a single corporate organisation – making it the second largest law enforcement agency in the UK after the Metropolitan Police Service.


Current Border Force head to leave

The current chief of the Border Force, Paul Lincoln, and Tyson Hepple who leads UK immigration enforcement are both set to leave their roles to make way for the new director general. The new appointee will oversee 15,000 staff and manage a budget of £1.28 billion and an operational fleet, which includes five maritime cutters and six coastal patrol vessels.

The key aspect of the role is to finalise the Home Office’s digital borders programme which has been hit by a series of problems since its launch in 2014. The programme has cost nearly double what was estimated, while the completion date has been pushed back to March 2022 while the total cost is expected to reach £372m compared to an original budget of £199m.

It’s understood that the new director general will be accountable for the operational side of legitimate arrivals at UK borders, plus the prevention of illegal entry into the country. The appointed person will also head up inland immigration enforcement teams, which include uniformed staff and criminal financial investigators.

The successful candidate will also be tasked with overseeing UK immigration detention centres. 


Large-scale organisational experience

The job advert says: ‘The successful candidate must have experience leading a large-scale organisational change programme, including leading major tech programmes, and strong strategic skills for the new capability, alongside an ability to see the big picture and design and articulate a clear vision in a fluid, political and complicated environment’.

‘They must also be able to work in a “politically complex landscape”, building relationships – and influencing the opinions of – ministers and other politicians’, the advert added.

The changes to be overseen by the new director general are happening under the ‘One Home Office’ transformation programme, which was launched in April 2021.

Permanent secretary for the Home Office, Matthew Rycroft, told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee that: “The One Home Office transformation programme seeks to equip the department for the future, help us to move on from COVID, respond to Windrush and ensure we are well placed to capitalise on the opportunities of the EU exit.”

“All of our work will be underpinned by our new Home Office values: respectful, courageous, compassionate and collaborative. To achieve this, its goals include establishing clearer roles and responsibilities for all teams and creating more integrated teams,” Rycroft added.

Applications for the job role will close on 8 August. can help with Sponsor Licences

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