The Home Office and Foreign Office have announced a series of changes to a large number of immigration fees for those coming to the UK to work, stay or study and for those applying to remain. The resultant income will be used for.
- providing additional enforcement capacity which will allow for more illegal working operations, prosecutions and enforcement staff;
- providing extra detention capacity – building new detention centres;
- increasing IND’s ability to provide compliance and employee verification services for employers employing foreign workers;
- increasing intelligence gathering to help inform enforcement operations;
- using enforcement campaigns abroad to explain the realities of coming to the UK illegally; and
- increasing removals – by supporting enhanced voluntary returns packages.
The new charging system will be implemented in April and includes these changes for application fees:
– Indefinite Leave to Remain was £335 becomes £750
– Indefinite Leave to Remain Premium was £500 becomes £950
– Nationality – Naturalisation was £200 becomes £575
In response to this statement, especially the announced rise for indefinite leave to remain application fees, Anna Reisenberger, acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council says:
“The Home Office have justified their plan to increase fees by claiming it will ‘help ensure a fair and effective immigration system’.
“The opposite is true. How can it be fair to introduce large fee increases for refugees who wish to become a citizen of this country permanently but who are most unlikely to have the money to pay for them. This is another measure which contradicts government rhetoric about integration. These are after all the people who the Government has accepted are refugees. They should be able to make a new life with our help – not be penalised again.”