Following a speech by the Immigration Minister Damian Green last week and growing concern that the current cost of immigation application fees are no longer sustainable, it has been announced that fees for immigration, nationality and visa services are to be increased.
Certain fees have always been charged at either the same as or below the cost of processing the application, and changes to these fees will come into effect on 1 October. Increases include upping the costs of applications for short visit visas, tier 1 transition and post-study work visas, visa applications for tier 4 and 5, as well as many others. Full details and a list of all the proposed changes for application costs at or below processing, along with Mr Green's ministerial statement can be found by clicking here.
Other application fees are charged above the rate of processing, as a good means of generating revenue to fund the immigration system. These proposed increases are subject to parliamentary affirmation, and it is thought they will come into effect sometime in November. Details of these will be posted on this website once they are released.
In order to keep the process simple and avoid confusion, most fees have been rounded up to the nearest £50 or £100.
The policy behind these increases is that those who benefit the most from migration should contribute more to the system. It is thought that if the current fees were to be maintained, the UKBA would not be able to recover its own costs, at both a detriment to the UK taxpayer and those benefiting from the UKBA services. The intention is to also align UK and overseas fees, whilst keeping the fees fair and reasonable in order to continue to attract many migrants from overseas. As stated by the Immigration Minister, the idea is that the 'proposals continue to strike the right balance between maintaining secure and effective border controls and ensuring that our fees structure does not inhibit the UK's ability to attract those migrants and visitors who most benefit the UK'.
For further information, please see the UKBA website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2010/sept/29-mid-year-fee-increases