Targeted increases include:
- Removal of the current 25% discount given to dependants when applying with a main applicant in the UK. Please not that dependant applications made outside of the UK are already charged the same fee as the main applicant.
- Increasing the Public Enquiry Office premium appointment fee from £375 to £400.
- Increasing the Tier 2 Priority postal fee from £275 to £300.
Outside the UK, the Home Office is expanding a number of premium services and is introducing a global fee for services, including:
- £100 for a three to five day priority visa service.
- £300 for a settlement priority visa service.
- £600 for a super priority visa service, which will usually provide a visa decision within 24 hours.
- £50 for appointments outside of office hours.
- £40 for a passport pass-back service. UKVI will roll out the passport pass-back service to more locations, which will ensure that applicants have the ability to hold onto their passports for most of the application process, enabling them to travel while their applications are considered.
A handful of reductions in fees include:
- Reducing sponsorship fees for Tier 2 large sponsor licenses and sponsor action plans while freezing a number of other sponsorship fees to reflect reduced processing costs.
- Introduction of a Tier 2 shortage occupations fee, which reduces the fee from £514 to £428 for overseas applicants and from £601 to £428 for in-country applicants.
There is also a new fee introduced for an “over three years visa” under the Tier 2 category which suggests that the immigration rules may change after April 2014 to allow Tier 2 migrants visas for longer than three years. The specific requirements for a possible five/six year visa is currently unannounced but, as the proposed fees will be double that of a normal ‘up to three year visa’ and there are different maximum length of visas applicable for different Tier 2 categories, sponsors and applicants should ensure that their category would allow them to apply for a longer visa before proceeding with the higher fee. If in doubt, legal advice should be sought before making the application.
Lastly, there is an intention to introduce more services to overseas applicants in an attempt to improve UKVI’s service standards. It plans to unify fees for additional services for oversees visa centres so that the fees for the priority service, prime-time visa applications, and passport passback services are all the same for applications made from any country. This is in line with the Home Office aims to improve its service levels to its customers. See fee consultation in November 2013.