Over the years the cost for immigration visas and nationality applications has begun to rise almost “out of control”. Such annual increases of 20% or even 25% per year can now be easily considered standard. For instance, the current cost for an application to settle in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain) in 2017 is £2,297.
The interesting part that the actual fee for such an application is around £252. In other words, the Home Office is collecting a huge amount from each applicant.
Even though the cost of settlement application is the last step in a very long journey, the total cost to reach this point as a spouse, for instance, is much higher when you calculate all the fees that are taken into account. After calculating all the applications and NHS charges as well as naturalisation the final total can be around £7,000.
The fees for in-country application were introduced only in 2003 and it has begun to increase in price since 2007. The main principal for these increases appears to be pressure on the Home Office budget. In the 2015 review it was indicated that the Home Office is aiming to achieve an independent borders and immigration system.
They are arguing that this would remove the burden from the UK taxpayer and continue to “ensure that the UK remain a competitive place for work, travel and study internationally.”
There have been statements that this is used to “price out” migrants of modest means. This is rather shocking as most people would struggle to earn their “recommended amount” and are driven to explore alternative migrations routes as a consequence, such as living and working abroad as a British citizen which in itself can cause the Home Office to doubt your intentions.
In regard to children, to register them as a British citizen it is currently around £973. The high cost of this application can and usually does deter parents from applying who may be struggling financially. This price prevents them to act in the best interest of their child.
A new Immigration Skills Charge introduced on 01 April 2017 is more intentionally aimed at reducing immigration. It was introduced at a £1000 per year per worker and is due to be doubled as according to the Conservative Manifesto 2017.
For employer’s this is not the only payment they will need to make. The payments are for the Sponsor licence, Certificate of Sponsorship, Immigration skills charge, extensions not to mention the cost of the visa for the individual. The skills charge is made on purpose to make foreign workers uncompetitive to reduce migration.
Forcing these tariffs ‘down migrants throats’ in the form of multiple and expensive fees as if it was spare change, whether for entry as a family member or as workers, is inhumane and very poorly drafted.