Some 700,000 pounds sterling (835,000 euros). as per daily revelations Independent From On Sunday, it is the amount paid by the British Home Office to Seafarer, a company founded in Hong Kong to prevent Afghan migrants from joining the United Kingdom. As the Taliban stood at the door of power and the country plunged into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Seifer led a communications campaign backed by the British government in the country in 2020. Target? To spare the Afghans who want to take the path of Great Britain.
«We will return you», Can we read in white capital letters on a picture showing a group of migrants? Such pictures are enough on Seafar’s social media. Presented as a non-profit company, this company has been in existence since 2014. Taking the views of international NGOs, it looks like a refugee aid organization at first glance.
On her website, she promises to support vulnerable migrants and give them a bright future. But behind the veneer of its communications, Seafarer is an opaque company, financed exclusively by governments such as the United Kingdom. She qualifies herself as specializing in “Migrant Behavior Change”. To persuade potential candidates for deportation not to join Great Britain, the company relies on studies conducted in the country, and various reports published on its site.
If the British government did not officially associate itself with the communications campaign in Afghanistan, denying any direct links, it financed it. The UK Ministry of Public Expenditure Record lists 12 separate payments and grants made to seafarers between 2016 and 2018, with a maximum amount of £120,000 each. But without mentioning the details of these orders.
This seafarer campaign is not the only UK migration policy action. A branch of rejected sites was discovered in several languages, most notably “The Migrant Project”, A site that intends to fight against illegal immigration by advocating for legal alternatives… but without providing information on the asylum application process, as it turns out Independent last July. In order to advertise these sites on social networks such as Facebook or Instagram, the Interior Ministry has spent more than £20,000 (23,800 euros). These communication campaigns are said to have targeted 16 million people.
Officially, Great Britain justifies this policy by will. “To avoid the risks taken on the migrant routes”. But unofficially, it is about stopping immigration. However, the island is far from being the country hosting the most Afghan refugees in Europe: they were 3,227 seeking asylum in 2020. When Afghanistan again fell to the Taliban yoke in August 2021, the British government pledged to welcome 20,000. refugees from the country. In the end, only 5,000 are authorized to set foot in the area at this point in time.
Since 2016, the United Kingdom, like many European countries, has tightened its migration policy. A dynamic that was emphasized last year with reforms in the asylum system. Under the leadership of Interior Minister, Priti Patel, the new bill proposes to create an immigration status as follows “second tier”, Illegal immigration to British soil. And London seems unwilling to do without the services of Seafarer: the government has already decided to grant the company under a new contract a grant of up to £500,000 in additional public funding in the near future.