South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM) logo | South East Councils

South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM)

The South East Strategic Partnership for Migration (SESPM) provides a leadership, co-ordination, and advisory function for migration in the South East. We are hosted by South East Councils and our support covers all 70 South East local authority areas.

We are one of 12 Regional Strategic Migration Partnerships covering the UK (one in each English region and one in each devolved administration). 

Migration is a fast-paced policy area and SESPM provides a flexible and responsive function; we facilitate objective, impartial discussion and information for our wide range of stakeholders and provide a specialist support and coordination for key national migration programmes. 

SESPMs governance is through a regional Executive Board chaired by Cllr Roger Gough (Leader of Kent County Council) with senior representation from local authorities across the region, public services, the Home Office and their contracted providers of asylum accommodation and support. 

We facilitate and chair a range of sub-regional meetings which covers strategic and operational issues. Each sub-regional group is chaired by a  senior local authority official. 

Resettlement Programmes

SESPM coordinates strategic engagement and the regional delivery of resettlement programmes. These include the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) for those recognised as highly vulnerable refugees and others arriving through schemes such as route opened in January 2021 for Hong Kong British Nationals Overseas (BNOs). 

We work with key government departments, local authorities and civil society in delivering the regions engagement and support of these schemes. 

The South East has played a highly significant role in UKRS and it’s predecessors and is set to respond in a similar way to those arriving here on the Hong Kong BNO route. 

Hong Kong British Nationals Overseas

As of January 2021, Hong Kong residents with the British national (overseas) passport can now apply for a new immigration route that enables them to stay in the UK for five years with the possibility of an onward track to citizenship.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) have identified SESPM, alongside South East local authorities as key institutions to assist new arrivals from Hong Kong into the South East and is going to provide funding to SESPM to support the new arrivals (National welcome for Hong Kong arrivals).

As this work is still in the preliminary stages, gathering more information about the needs of new arrivals is essential to help inform the design of the support we provide. Consequently, we would welcome contact from schools, councils, local voluntary organisations as well as people arriving from Hong Kong themselves.

If you are a new arrival from Hong Kong yourself intending on living in the South East of England, it would be most helpful if you were able to complete the short and anonymous survey below:

Resources for people from Hong Kong

The government’s official welcome pack is available in English and Traditional Chinese:

Welcome Pack: English

Welcome Pack: Traditional Chinese

Resources for voluntary, community and social enterprise

As part of the support for this visa route the government has pledged funding to help voluntary, community and social enterprises working with people arriving under this scheme. More information on this will follow shortly.

Resources for local authorities

The government’s information page for local authorities can be found here.

VCSE funding opportunities

On the 29th July 2021 the Government announced a funding package of £2.6 million HMG funding to welcome Hong Kong British National Overseas status holders and their families who choose to come to the UK via the Government’s new visa route. For more information click here.


SESPM facilitates engagement between the Home Office and those they contract to provide accommodation and support, local authorities, public services and civil society partners in order to increase participation in and delivery of the  Home Office asylum dispersal programme.

  • Asylum support 
  • Asylum accommodation
  • Access to advice services
  • Statistics 

Migrant Children Schemes 

Our specialist Principal Social Worker for migrant children acts as a single point of contact for local authorities in the region and Home Office officials co-ordinating the arrival and resettlement of migrant children.  

This includes both unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and those arriving in the UK to reunite with family members (formally Dublin III).  

This works includes the coordination for referrals received via the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) for UASC (UASC); the objective of the scheme is to ensure that children can access the services they need by achieving a fairer distribution of unaccompanied children across all local authorities and parts of the UK

  • NTS
  • Resettlement
  • Dublin III Transfers
  • Anti-Trafficking initiatives – Operation Innerste 

EU Settled Status

30th June 2021 sees the deadline for applications under the EUSS; with the South East hosting the second highest population of EU migrants in the UK,  SESPM continues to work with statutory and civil society partners to promote awareness of the need for those not already registered to do so. 

  • NTS
  • Resettlement
  • Dublin III Transfers
  • Anti-Trafficking initiatives – Operation Innerste 

No Recourse to Public Funds

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) is a condition that applies to people with a variety of immigration status that restricts their access to publicly funded services. SESPM coordinates the South East region in the NRPF national network, which supports local authorities in their work with people affected by NRPF conditions. More details about SESPM’s NRPF work can be obtained by contacting us. 

  • Meetings
  • Links to NRPF National Network


Roy Millard

Head of Partnership

Susan Fawcus

Resettlement Specialist

Rachael Coker

Research and Data Officer

Katie Trussell, SESPM Staff, Principal Social Worker for Migrant Children Programmes

Katie Thrussell

Principal Social Worker for Migrant Children Programmes


Nick Scott Flynn

Consultant Support