Home Office is proposing a massive 25% increase in already high immigration application fees for families for the year 2016-17. Family and spouse visas will in future cost £1,195. The maximum chargeable for these applications will be increased from £2,141 to £3,250. The fee for a settlement application will increase to £1,875 and to £2,676 for Adult Dependant Relatives.
British citizen naturalisation fees for adults will increase to £1,156 and child registration fees to £936, which also represent 25% increases.
By comparison, a large multinational company applying for a Tier 2 sponsor licence to enable it to recruit foreign workers needs to pay a fee of £1,476. This fee is not being increased.
Other fees for visit, study and work visas will increase by only 2% and a new 2 year visit visa for Chinese nationals is being introduced for only £85.
A new £25 fee for processing invalid applications is also proposed. At the moment, any fee paid for an invalid application is refunded. New premium rate phone lines for status checks (for landlords and employers, presumably) are also to be introduced costing as much as £1.23 per minute.
The increases are not unexpected. The Home Office is attempting to make immigration control self-funding. The choices made by Ministers as to where the highest fees should fall are telling, though. High fees have a deterrent effect and are simply unaffordable for some families.