**Illegal Migration Operations Command – Illegal Migration Intake Unit – Social Worker

Home Office

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 4th March 2024



Reference number



£41,600 - £44,512
This post attracts an allowance of approximately 18%. Further information in the job description.

Job grade

Senior Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area

HO - Visas and Immigration - Illegal Migration Operations Command (IMOC)

Type of role

Operational Delivery

Working pattern

Full-time, Part-time, Shift working

Number of jobs available



Kent Intake Unit 5 (KIU 5) - Dover

Job summary

The Home Office works to build a safe, fair, and prosperous UK. We achieve this through our work on counterterrorism, policing, fire, crime, nationality, and immigration policy.

The Illegal Migration Operations Command (IMOC) is prioritising the operationalisation of the new Illegal Migration Act (IMA). This is a top priority, which is being led through twice weekly PM committee and will fundamentally alter the way in which the Government tackles illegal migration.

The Illegal Migration Act has been introduced in response to the Prime Minister’s commitment to respond to the pressure of small boat arrivals. One of its aims is to introduce a duty to remove anyone arriving illegally in the UK.

The newly formed Illegal Migration Operations Command looks to implement the Illegal Migration Act through processing and screening irregular migrants that fall under the new duties, as well as the creation of a new case working directorate.

The Illegal Migration Intake Unit (IMIU) is responsible for the registration and screening of those arriving in the UK illegally.

The Illegal Migration Intake Unit consists of the Kent Intake Unit (KIU); Midlands Intake Unit (MIU) within Yarl’s Wood IRC; Belfast Intake Unit, Intake Response Team (IRT), Manston Reception Centre, the Remote Operations Hub, and the People and Planning Function providing corporate enablement to the operation. The unit is made up of over 700 officers.

Job description

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity and inclusion at the Home Office. We are committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive workplace where all our people are able to bring their whole selves to work and perform at their best.

These roles will work alongside our Kent Intake Unit (KIU) who primarily deal with new arrivals detected either near the port, in the surrounding area in Kent, and small boat arrivals. The unit operates 24/7, 365 days of the year. Those arriving at the Kent Intake Unit will already be detained, so the Kent Intake Unit includes a holding room facility. The Kent Intake Unit has a particular focus around processing unaccompanied children, so the work of the unit involves the identification of those children and working closely with Kent Children’s Services to ensure they are processed and placed into appropriate care as quickly as possible.   

We are looking for candidates who are qualified social workers, with extensive post-qualification experience in a local authority setting. Alongside proven expertise and experience in complex assessments, you will thrive in a fast-paced environment with the accountability for a high-profile area of work.

Person specification

Ensuring the welfare of people who have arrived in the UK is at the heart of what we do, the successful candidates will provide critical safeguarding expertise and support through:

Undertaking age assessments of young people to determine the appropriate package of support which would include:

  • Undertaking ‘Merton’ compliant age assessments on behalf of local authorities and the Home Office. Reports need to be robust enough to withstand scrutiny through legal challenge and completed within agreed timescales.
  • Engaging with local authority social workers and other professionals involved in the young person’s care.
  • Contributing expert opinions on individual age assessments where necessary.
  • Maintaining and applying up-to-date knowledge of research findings, legislation, case law, statutory guidance, and policy developments relevant to age assessing for all parts of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, where applicable).
  • Supporting the Home Office response to legal challenges, where they arise, including preparing court statements and giving evidence in court.
  • Adopting a child centred and trauma informed approach to working with young people and undertaking assessments. Provide the appropriate statutory response to any child protection or safeguarding concerns that come to light during the age assessment process.
  • Adapting personal practice in response to feedback given through the quality assurance process.
  • Drive up expertise and quality in the age assessment field, by contributing to and delivering high quality training to local authorities.
  • Provide training, guidance and advice to Immigration Officers carrying out initial age assessments and help build capability among operational immigration officials as and when required.
  • Promoting the safety and wellbeing of all service users at KIU, at both their Dover and Folkestone locations, the Western Jet Foil, and Manston, by monitoring and engaging with the individuals on site to ensure their welfare.
  • Being an IMIU liaison point for the Safeguarding Hub, to ensure that high quality and timely interventions, referrals and sign posting work is undertaken to support vulnerable individuals. This will include providing subject matter expertise to the IMIU Safeguarding Improvement plan and attending the IMIU Safeguarding Board meeting.
  • Conducting and/or participating in welfare interviews.
  • Exploring family relationships of those children that may have arrived with unrelated adults and making decisions on the legitimacy of those relationships.
  • Make referrals to other parts of the Home Office, government or external organisations, such as local authorities and/or NHS.
  • Attending emergency strategy meetings with Kent Social Services and other government agencies.
  • Providing written and verbal reports as required, plus maintain accurate records and other documents in a timely fashion, all appropriate to the intended audience.
  • Responding to requests for information from local authorities and other Home Office teams via the Safeguarding Inbox, compliant with relevant data protection regulations. 

Although these roles are based at our Kent Intake Unit, Dover, successful candidates will be required to regularly attend other Kent based Home Office approved sites, including Frontier House, Folkestone, Western Jet Foil and Manston (near Ramsgate), to monitor and engage with young people and ensure their welfare. Occasionally you may be asked to travel to locations outside Kent.  Travel and subsistence would be paid in line with guidance.

The successful candidates will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Annualised Hours Working (AHW)

The Illegal Migration Intake Unit operate a shift working pattern, where Annualised Hours Working (AHW) is paid in accordance with the operational needs of the business. This allowance is paid in addition to the monthly salary to compensate for out of office hours working and flexibility.

A review of AHW takes place annually and there is an anticipation that the shift working pattern will include working some unsocial hours. It is envisaged that in future the roster may include some night work.  If this were to occur this would be discussed with post-holders in advance.

The Kent Intake Unit is a 365-day operation and utilises a range of shifts including earlies, lates, weekend and public holiday working. Shift lengths can vary and be up to 12 hours. Rosters are published in advance, but shifts can change or extend according to business need.

The average allowance is currently 18% (and can change subject to an annual review). You would be deployed to a range of different duties, shifts and locations.  Occasionally this may include travel to other UK based locations.

Due to the operational nature of these roles, these are full-time in person positions with limited options to work part time or flexibly. All post-holders are expected to work the full range of shifts, and attend the office or required allocated location, in person. It is therefore unlikely that fixed days off could be agreed. Despite the limited options for flexibility, should such a working pattern be agreed then you should be aware that this would affect the rate of Annualised Hours Working allowance paid.


Training for all frontline Illegal Migration intake Unit colleagues will include teaching skills in personal safety techniques to keep you and your team colleagues safe. This Personal Safety Training (PST) requires physical activity and physical contact with the other delegates. This training is refreshed annually. 

Completing this training is a mandatory requirement for the role. By submitting an application for this role, you are confirming that you understand this requirement.

Essential Criteria

  • Qualified and registered social worker with Social Work England.
  • A successful track record with extensive post-qualification experience in a local authority setting, including experience of working in children’s services.
  • Culturally sensitive with experience of working with service users from diverse backgrounds.
  • Proven ability to conduct complex social worker assessments and complete high quality written assessment reports, robust enough to withstand legal challenge, within agreed timescales.
  • Capable of maintaining up-to-date knowledge of research findings, legislation, statutory guidance, policy developments and case law relevant to age assessments and child safeguarding practice.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience of conducting Merton compliant age assessments.
  • Have experience of managing interviews and working with an interpreter.
  • Have strong planning and organisational skills, including proven ability to work independently and balance competing demands. 


Due to the nature of the work and the geographical area, travel by official vehicle will be inevitable and candidates must have a full valid UK manual driving licence BEFORE applying. You must be able to present it to demonstrate your eligibility. Failure to do so will result in your application being rejected.


Qualified Social Worker

Please provide within your CV clear details of this qualification along with the date it was obtained. Failure to hold the above qualification or to provide proof of such qualification when requested will mean your application will be withdrawn from this campaign.


Registered Social Worker with Social Work England - up to date registration number will need to be supplied.

Please provide within your CV clear details of this membership along with the date it was obtained. Failure to hold the above membership or to provide proof of such when requested will mean your application will be withdrawn from this campaign.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Working Together
  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths and Experience.

This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, drives up performance and improves diversity and inclusivity.

As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete:

  • CV detailing skills, job history and qualifications.
  • Statement of Suitability (Personal Statement) (maximum 1000 words).

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

The Statement of Suitability (Personal Statement) should be aligned to demonstrate your skills and experience for the role and how you meet the Essential Criteria as detailed in the job description.

The CV should clearly outline your job history, skills related to the role, and qualifications held in relation to those essential for this role (see qualifications and membership sections above).

The sift will be held on the statement of suitability (personal statement) and CV.

If you are successful at sift stage, you will be invited to an interview which will be a blended approach of strength-based questions (no preparation necessary) and behaviour-based questions (preparation recommended).

Strengths are the things that you do regularly, do well and that motivate you. To find out more about strength based questions click here.

Sift and Interview dates:

Sift is expected to take place week commencing 4th March 2024. 

Interviews are expected to take place week commencing 25th March 2024.

We will try to meet the dates set out in the advert; however, these may change due to business needs.   You will be provided with sufficient notice of the confirmed dates.

Due to time constraints, we may not be able to offer alternative interview date(s).

Please note interviews are being carried out via MS Teams. Candidates will be required to have access to:

  • A laptop (personal or work) with a working webcam.
  • Good internet connection.
  • Microsoft Teams.

It is advisable to access your interview from a windows operating system laptop, desktop, phone or tablet as there is no guarantee that Microsoft Teams will work without issue on an Apple laptop, tablet or desktop.

Further Information:

For more information about working for the Home Office, please visit Home Office Careers website

For meaningful checks to be carried out, individuals need to have lived in the UK for a sufficient period of time to enable appropriate checks to be carried out and produce a result which provides the required level of assurance. You should normally have been resident in the United Kingdom for the last 3 years if the role requires CTC clearance, 5 years for SC clearance and 10 years for DV.  A lack of UK residency in itself is not necessarily a bar to a security clearance and applicants should contact the Vacancy Holder/Recruiting Manager listed in the advert for further advice.

For further information on National Security Vetting please visit the following page https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/demystifying-vetting

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. 

If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing Pre-EmploymentChecks.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

NOTE FOR CANDIDATES: Please ensure that all examples provided in your application are taken directly from your own experience and that you describe the examples in your own words. All applications are screened for plagiarism and copying and generating of examples/answers from internet sources including Artificial Intelligence. If any is detected the application may be withdrawn from the process. Further action, including disciplinary action, may be considered in such cases involving civil servants. Providing false or misleading information would be contrary to the core values of honesty and integrity expected of all Civil Servants.

Candidates who are successful at Interview will be placed in order of merit and provisional job offers will be made in strict merit order. Provisional offers are made, as they are on condition that you successfully pass all pre-employment checks.

Membership to Social Work England (SWE) is an essential requirement for this role. In compliance with Social Work England (SWE) Practice, should you be successful at interview, the Home Office will confirm current valid membership with Social Work England (SWE). Candidates found to not hold current membership will have their provisional offer withdrawn. 

A reserve list may be created for other similar roles for a period of 12 months. Selection will be in Merit Order to fill the same role or similar roles with closely matching “Essential criteria” and Success Profile elements without further assessment.

If you are currently an agency member of staff working within the Home Office, a contractor or contingent worker you can only apply for roles that are advertised externally, i.e., outside the civil service. If you are eligible to apply for a role, you are required to select yourself as an external applicant and not internal when submitting your application on Civil Service jobs. This will prevent any delays in pre-employment checks should you become successful in being made an offer of employment after the Interview stage.

Every day, Home Office civil servants do brilliant work to develop and deliver policies and services that affect the lives of people across the country and beyond. To do this effectively and fairly, the Home Office is committed to representing modern Britain in all its diversity, and creating a welcoming, inclusive workplace where all our people are able to bring their whole selves to work and perform at their best.

We are flexible, skilled, professional and diverse. We work to recruit and retain disabled staff and area Disability Confident Leader. We are proud to be one of the most ethnically diverse departments in the civil service. We are a Social Mobility Foundation top 75 employer.

New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening, subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant's details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

For further information please see the attached notes for candidates which must be read before making an application.

Existing Civil Servants should note that some of the Home Office terms and conditions of employment have changed. It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of the Terms and Conditions they will adopt should they be successful in application and should refer to the notes for candidates for further details.

Transfer Terms: Voluntary.

If you are invited to an interview you will be required to bring a range of documentation for the purposes of establishing identity and to aid any pre-employment checks.

Please see the attached list of Home Office acceptable ID documents.

Any move to the Home Office from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Reasonable Adjustments

If a person with disabilities is at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes. 

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

  •  Contact Government Recruitment Service via HOrecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
  • Complete the “Assistance Required” section in the “Additional Requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you're deaf, a language service professional.

    If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the ‘Contact point for applicants’ section.


    Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


    Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
    Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check (opens in a new window).

    See our vetting charter (opens in a new window).
    People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

    Nationality requirements

    This job is broadly open to the following groups:

    • UK nationals
    • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
    • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
    • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
    • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
    • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
    • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
    Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

    Working for the Civil Service

    The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

    We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles (opens in a new window).
    The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
    The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
    This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
    Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

    Contact point for applicants

    Job contact :

    • Name : Home Office Resourcing Centre
    • Email : HORCCampaignTeamHMPOandUKVI@homeoffice.gov.uk

    Recruitment team

    • Email : HOrecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

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