TIKTOK stars are set to be paid by the UK Government to urge migrants not to cross the Channel.

Social media influencers in countries which account for a large amount of illegal migration to the UK will be offered thousands of pounds by the Home Office to tell migrants not to come to the country in small boats and publicise the threat of deportation to Rwanda, according to The Times. 

Former home secretary Suella Braverman is said to have blocked the plans while in office over concerns they were “frivolous”.

But the idea – described as “novel” in a Government document – is now being put into practice.

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The process is designed to evade the ban on Government use of TikTok, which was introduced last year amid security concerns. It means the Home Office cannot advertise on the app directly.

The move is part of a £1 million advertising blitz to be introduced alongside the implementation of the Rwanda policy in the spring.

Mass advertising campaigns are set to take place in Albania, Iraq, Egypt and Vietnam, while there are plans to introduce them in Turkey and India.

A shortlist of influencers including a rapper known as Omg Dioh – who has 100,000 followers - has been drawn up in Albania. The Home Office has about £30,000 to pay the stars who have been chosen for their ability to appeal to young men.

Pay for each individual is to be capped at £5000.

Another influencer is Roxhi Dibrani, a comedian with 150,000 followers, who has a “strong northern Albanian accent, which may help him disseminate messages more easily to young people located in our target regions”.

The plan to pay influencers is the next stage of the Home Office’s advertising campaign in Albania, which has run for the last three years.

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It has included UK government-branded adverts on social media, TV and radio, warning of the consequences of travelling to the UK illegally. 

The advertising campaign will cost the Home Office £380,500.

A budget of £15,000 has been dedicated to paying influencers in Egypt and Vietnam. The budget for Turkish, Iraqi and Indian influencers has yet to be decided but a total of £576,500 has been signed off for these five countries.

The Home Office has contracted Multicultural Marketing Consultancy (MMC) - which specialises in “engaging diverse audiences” - to find candidates.

The content will not be UK Government-branded but influencers will need to confirm their affiliation to the Home Office in the interests of transparency.

The plan says advertising would play a crucial role in influencing the decision of migrants in conflict-free countries who are considering travelling to the UK for economic opportunities.

It adds: “They are either undecided about departing their country or are decided but considering their destination.

“This campaign is not aimed at those migrants whose minds are already set on making the illegal journey to the UK: we know that the influence we can have over them is limited.

“For this campaign’s audience, largely comprising young working-age males and their family, influencers’ communications have a role in encouraging them to consider the risk of exploitation, apprehension, detention and ultimately return, as reasons illegal migration to the UK is not the right choice.”