Massive increases to immigration fees announced

The government has announced massive increases in immigration fees and the immigration health surcharge.

The normal rate for the immigration health surcharge will increase from £624 to £1,035 per year. This will be paid by workers entering for a period of six months or more and the family members of migrants and British citizens alike. The discounted rate for students, children and youth mobility visa holders will be increased from £470 to £776. The minister announcing the measure explicitly stated that this increase “would fund the pay rise for doctors” that was announced earlier.

Immigration and nationality fees will be increased as well. Work and visit visas will rise by 15%. Student visas, certificates of sponsorship, settlement, citizenship, entry clearance and leave to remain applications by “at least 20%”.

To give you an idea of what we are talking about, the cost of a settlement application will therefore rise to at least £2,885 per person. For a family of four, that will be over £11,500 in total. That family will also have paid something like £15,000 in immigration health surcharge costs.

The cost of student and priority service applications outside and inside the UK will be equalised. It is currently cheaper to apply from within the UK for several visa types. This was justified as “covering more of the cost of the migration and borders system, allowing the Home Secretary to divert more funding to police forces to fund the pay rise for the police.”

No announcement was made on timing of the increases. If you can make an immigration application sooner rather than later then you should do so.

The fees charged in the United Kingdom are already far, far higher than comparable European countries and the United States.

These fee increases are cheap for the government, both financially and politically. Migrants and their families will find it very expensive indeed.

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