UK visa and immigration fees to increase as part of austerity drive

by Ray Clancy on September 18, 2010

Visa and immigration fees in the UK are set to increase next month and in November, making it more expensive for expats from non European countries, students and visitors.

The UK Border Agency said the price increases are needed to meet the costs of processing the applications and issuing paperwork and to meet ‘budgetary pressures’.

The county is currently in the middle of introducing austerity measures and the immigration department faces pressure to be cost effective.

‘In line with broader announcements about reductions to public spending, the agency has considered how best to meet budgetary pressures and the proposals for fees increase will help to offset some of these pressures alongside efficiency savings,’ the agency said in a statement.

Some fees will increase on October 01 and others in November. An exact date will be published nearer the time once they are approved by Parliament, the statement added.

‘The UK Border Agency believes that the proposals to increase fees 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 migrants and visitors who make a valued contribution. This will help to support the immigration system, maintain public confidence and ensure that migration is managed for the benefit of the UK,’ the statement continues.

These further fee increases are somewhat controversial coming on top of some large increases in fees earlier this year in April. ‘The Chancellor’s Emergency Budget set out the state of the nation’s finances and demonstrated the very difficult choices that must be made to reduce the budget deficit. As part of that, the Government has looked again at the contribution made towards the costs of running an immigration system by the users of that system, balanced against those costs met by the UK taxpayer and we believe proposals to increase fees at this time are in the best interests of the UK,’ said immigration minister Damian Green.

‘Securing the border brings with it an unavoidable core of cost, especially as we seek to improve customer service for visa applicants: something we believe is important in the efficient running of the UK economy,’ he added.

The increases include a Tier 1 visa at a Consular post outside the UK rising from £690 to £850 and a Tier 1 visa from within the UK to rise £10 to $850. Similarly Tier 2 visas if sought outside the UK will cost £350, up from £270 and within the country £500, up from £475. The cost of a tier 4 visa is set to increase from £199 to £220 from outside and for the same visa from within the UK there will be no change at £357.

Visitor visas for short term stays of up to six months are set to increase from £68 to £70, for two years from £230 to £245, for five years from £420 to £450 and for 10 years from £610 to £650.

Settlement visas, for permanent residence, are likely to increases from £644 to £750 and dependent visa fees will increase to 20 to 30% of the principal applicant fee.

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