‘Offensive’ Home Office illegal immigrants ad facing ban

A Home Office outdoor campaign ordering illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest” is facing censure after the ad watchdog confirmed it is investigating complaints the campaign is “offensive” and “irresponsible”. 


The activity saw vans driving around London carrying posters featuring handcuffs next to text ’In the UK illegally. Go home or face arrest.” It also trumpets the number of arrests made in the area the van was driving around.

The Advertising Standards Authority says it has received 60 complaints and has launched a formal investigation. A statement says: “Complainants have expressed concerns that the ad, in particular the phrase ’Go Home’, is offensive and irresponsible because it is reminiscent of slogans used by racist groups to attack immigrants in the past and could incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multicultural communities.”

Some complainants also question whether the claim “106 arrests last week in your area” is misleading because it implies all illegal immigrants will be arrested.

The vans were driven around several areas including Hounslow and Brent.

The campaign has been met with criticism from MPs including Business Secretary Vince Cable, which slammed it as “stupid and offensive”.  

A spokeswoman for the Home Office says: “We can confirm that we are in contact with the Advertising Standards Authority over this investigation and will respond in due course.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here