On 3 April 2017, the government published details of the new fees payable for visa, immigration and nationality applications and associated premium services, which will come into force from 6 April 2017.

The main changes are:

  • Small increases for work visas as follows:
    • Entry clearance fees for Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long Term Staff and Tier 2 (General) will rise from £575 to £587 for a three year visa and from £1,151 to £1,174 for a visa up to five years
    • In-country Tier 2 further leave to remain fees will rise from £664 to £677 for a three year visa and from £1,328 to £1,354 for a visa up to five years
    • The same fees will be payable for each dependant
  • Priority processing fees will rise as follows:
    • Same day premium processing fees for all leave to remain applications will rise from the current £500 to £590
    • Priority postal processing fees for Tier 2 leave to remain applications will increase from the current £375 to £459
    • Priority processing fees for non-settlement entry clearance applications (including Tier 2) will rise from £150 to £184
    • Super priority same day processing for non-settlement entry clearance applications will rise from £750 to £919
  • Fees for settlement and naturalisation as a British citizen will increase as follows:
    • For a main applicant and each dependant applying for settlement (indefinite leave to remain), the fees will rise from £1,875 to £2,297 each. If same day processing is required, each applicant will now need to pay £2,887
    • For an adult applicant applying to naturalise as a British citizen, the fees will rise to £1,282, up from the current fee of £1,236
  • Fees for the issuance of a Certificate of Sponsorship and all sponsor licensing applications, the fees will remain at the current rates.

As well as having to pay these increased fees, Sponsors wishing to hire Tier 2 migrants from overseas will also have to pay the new Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per annum (reduced to £364 for small companies and charities) for each migrant applying for entry clearance. This will be payable at the point of assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship and so for a five year visa, the fee for the skills charge alone will be £5,000 or £1,820. However, this will not apply to Tier 2 migrants already working in the UK prior to 6 April 2017, who subsequently obtain further leave to remain in this category on or after 6 April 2017.

In addition, the Immigration Health Surcharge of £200 per annum will now be payable for those applying in the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) category (this had been rolled out to all other applicants in 2015).

Improved priority service for Tier 2 and 5 visa Sponsors

On 3 April the Home Office announced changes to its priority change of circumstances service for Tier 2 and 5 Sponsors. This service was initially launched in November 2016, whereby for a fee of £200, Sponsors could apply for expedited processing of a change of circumstances request to add or renew a Certificate of Sponsorship allocation, add a new Level 1 user and replace an Authorising Officer. It will now be possible to also apply to add a representative. Access to the service has been sporadic to date due to the limit on the number of applications which could be processed each day. To improve access to the service, daily slots have been increased from 20 to 50, and the hours of operation will increase from 9 am – 4 pm to 9 am to 5pm. Priority applications are usually considered within five working days.