Increasing immigration costs overall have been in the news again recently. The Independent recently ran an article on the lack of free to use appointments for visa applicants and the Guardian has also reported on the effects of increasing visa fees.

In its recent white paper on proposals for a post-Brexit immigration system, the Government notes that it raises £2.3 billion annually in visa and passport fees. That is not surprising given the high cost of most visa applications. The Government’s reasoning is that the cost of the immigration system “should be borne by those who use it, to avoid placing undue burden on general taxation.” Given that the country benefits from migration, whether this is fair is at least arguable.

It is also questionable whether it is right to saddle British families with punitively high immigration fees and salary expectations, something we will explore further in this blog.

Conclusion

Such high fees are arguably an extra tax on British families relocating to and in the UK. Most families need to meet the financial requirement, the stated purpose of which is to ensure people who come to the UK will not need to rely on benefits. This being the case, families should not also need to pay such high application costs. The Government’s Immigration White Paper makes no proposals in regards to changes to family migration. As such, post-Brexit, this long, expensive process will also apply to EU nationals. More and more families will be affected by these prohibitive fees. This is an urgent issue which requires redress.

Until changes are enacted however, what should families living abroad be thinking about when considering relocating to the UK?

  • Consider how you are going to meet the financial requirement and how you will evidence this. Know whose income can be relied on, what financial requirements you are going to need to meet, and check what evidence you need to provide in order to show this income.
  • Start saving for the visa fees and consider how you will meet the next round of fees at the extension and ILR stages.