Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

New Home Office definition of ‘exceptional’ circumstances


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

A Home Office spokesman said:

“Staff who make exceptional contributions to the work of the Home Office are eligible for special one-off payments”

Apparently a total of 11,672 bonuses were paid in 2012/13 to around 40% of staff, equating to a mean bonus of £559.

Who knew that 40% of staff at the Home Office had made an ‘exceptional’ contribution to its work? Impressive. And something to bear in mind next time one of those Home Office staff suggest in a reasons for refusal letter or court submissions that a person’s case is not ‘exceptional’ as required by the Immigration Rules at paragraphs 390A, 391, 397, 398, S-EC.1.4, E-ECP.4.2 and, no doubt, elsewhere.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.


8 Responses

  1. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that large numbers of Home Office staff are “exceptional”. Of course, by that I don’t mean “exceptionally good”…

  2. Omg! Are we still flogging this same deceased horse? 40% of HO staff are not given bonuses, cite your source, do your maths or both.

  3. Just noticed that your cut and paste ‘evidence’ is from the Grauniad, facts as reliable as it’s spellling.

  4. Colin, I work for the HO, in my own experience, operational staff (ie those at the coal face, not those high up the food chain), do NOT see, 40 %of staff get a bonus, under our performance measures (feel free to FOI if you have not already), the max is 20% in any given cohort.

  5. Internal administrative practices of the Home Office – ‘believe nothing, refuse everything and give no ressons’ is the blunt instrument that perhaps digs up higher percentage of staff bonuses than hitherto identified.

  6. The maths isn’t difficult. Find out how many staff were paid bonuses. Find out how many staff work for the Home Office. Divide the former by the latter and multiple by 100 to get the % of bonuses paid.

    Now, it could well be true that the higher-ranked you are the more likely you are to get a bonus. It works that way in the private sector. So, just because 20% of staff at ‘the coalface’ get a bonus doesn’t mean that less than 40% of staff overall get a bonus. Suppose there are 70% of staff at the ‘coal face’. Only 20% of staff at the coal face could get a bonus (i.e, 14% of total staff), and it would still be possible to give 40% of staff overall a bonus.