UK Home Office

The UK Home Office is a ministerial department of the UK government that is responsible for:

UK Immigration

The UK Home Office is responsible for securing the borders of the UK and controlling immigration. These functions were once under the executive agency of the UK Border Agency; however, as of March 2013, there are plans to disband the UKBA and split it into two separate entities: an immigration and visa service, and an immigration law enforcement organization.

Due to an enormity of backlogged visa cases (in some cases upwards of 100,000) the new policy of the UK Home Office to reduce immigration and heighten border security. The disbanding of UKBA hopes to reach these policy goals by simplifying the immigration system, increasing visa processing efficiency and making enforcement more effective.

Since these changes were set in motion, quotas of non-EU economic immigrants have decreased. There has also been an upheaval of the student visa policies as the Home Office was seeing a plethora of student visa fraud. Study visas have been severely cut, but language students now are able to study in the UK under visitor visas. The new student visa policy has received much criticism from UK universities and press as international recruitment rates have dropped by nearly half.

UK Immigration and Nationality Directorate

The UK Immigration and Nationality Directorate was once a part of the UK Home Office, the government department that is responsible for creating policies and regulating immigration, drugs, crime and counter-terrorism. However, in 2007 the IND was disbanded and replaced by the Border and Immigration Agency and then in 2008, that was replaced by the currently standing UK Border Agency (UKBA).

UK National Security

The UK Home Office is responsible for creating, imposing and regulating policies of national security. By first assessing risks and then determining appropriate courses of action, the Home Office strives to keep the country safe and secure.

Current Home Office national security tasks include:

  • Establishing stability in Afghanistan

    • The British Army invaded Afghanistan in 2001 with the United States with a goal of toppling the then power Taliban. While the violence since then has largely subsided, a UK military presence remains to help Afghans establish a stable government and military of their own.
  • Keeping Northern Ireland safe

    • Northern Ireland is a part of the UK and though their daily policing and justice system is sovereign under the Northern Ireland Executive, national security agendas and responsibilities are under control of the UK Home Office.
  • Securing UK cyberspace

    • Alongside international terrorism, cyber-attacks are a top priority concern to the threat of UK national security. The internet-related market in the UK is estimated to be worth £82 million a year and it is in the responsibility of the Home Office to protect this interest.

UK Police

The Home Office overseas the crime and policing agencies in the UK, Whales and Northern Ireland. Like most police enforcement throughout the world, the Home Office strives to reduce and prevent violence and provide accessible support to its civilians.

UK Law

The UK justice system is overseen by the Home Office. The responsibilities are to "punish the guilty, protect our liberties and rehabilitate offenders."

Current goals of the UK justice system are:

  • Making legal aid available to all;
  • Protect against terrorism;
  • Make the criminal system more efficient; and
  • Make sentencing more effective.