This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons by Mark Harper and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.
Minister for Immigration (Mark Harper):
I am today announcing proposals to change the fees for immigration and nationality applications made to the Home Office and for services provided by the department. The government reviews these fees on a regular basis and makes appropriate changes as necessary.
In developing these proposals, the Home Office has sought to limit most increases to 4%. There are further targeted increases to bring dependant fees in line with main application fees, to register as a British Citizen and some premium services. A staggered rise has been applied to the long-term visit visa (greater than six months) with a higher rise to the 2 and 5 year visas to ensure the 10-year visa stays at its current level. We are also introducing a reduced fee for those applying to work within areas regarded as shortage occupations and to the direct airside transit visa.
The Home Office has given careful consideration to its fee levels, to ensure they provide the funding necessary to operate effective immigration controls and invest in improving service levels to customers. This is balanced against the need to ensure that the UK continues to attract and welcome the ‘brightest and best’ migrants from around the world and those that make a valued contribution to British society. Given the ongoing need to reduce public spending, we believe it is right that we continue to reduce the contribution made by UK taxpayers towards delivering the immigration system by asking those who use and benefit directly from the system to make a greater contribution.
For certain application categories, we will continue to set fees higher than the administrative cost to reflect their value to successful applicants. This helps to provide resources to run the UK immigration system and enables the Home Office to set lower fees elsewhere in support of wider government objectives to attract those businesses, workers, students and visitors who most benefit the UK. This includes the short term visit visa which remains significantly below cost.
I have laid regulations for fees set higher than cost. In addition, I will shortly lay another set of regulations in Parliament for fees set at or below cost. Further details explaining all fees changes are provided in the Explanatory Memoranda for both sets of regulations. Subject to parliamentary approval the government intends to bring new fees into force from 6 April 2014 with some fees for premium services overseas coming into effect on 31 March 2014.
The attached table, setting out all the proposed fees, includes indicative unit costs for financial year 2014 to 2015. The unit cost is the estimated average cost to the Home Office of processing each application. Unit costs are published so it is clear which fees we set over cost and by how much.
Full details on how to apply for all of the Home Office’s products and services will be provided on the UK Border Agency website.
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