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Charges proposed to cut UK immigration appeals

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The UK Government will introduce fees to try to reduce the number of appeals made by immigrants over family reunion applications, the website This is London reported on February 4.

According to information revealed by anonymous Cabinet sources to the newspaper the Evening Standard, a charge of 200 pounds will be levied on migrant workers if they launch appeals against bans on family members joining them in the UK. This is part of a five-year plan on immigration to be published on February 8 by the Home Office, and comes as both the Government and the opposition promise to get tough on immigration abuse in the lead-up to an election expected in a few months.

An unnamed minister is quoted as saying that it is hoped the scheme will reduce the number of immigrants' family members who stay in the UK for many years by making repeated appeals against rulings that they have to leave the Country.

There have been serious skills shortages in the UK over many years. This has resulted in the number of people in the UK with work permits going up from 25,000 in 1995 to 60,000 in 2000 and 145,000 last year. These figures do not include family members of work permit holders.

It is normally quite straightforward for the immediate family of work permit holders to gain entry to the UK. feel that the proposed changes will make little difference in the vast majority of cases. The main benefit for the Government will be a reduction in the amount of time being spent dealing with immigation appeals. These changes may actually turn out not to be that relevant for the immediate family of those coming under the work permit scheme or HSMP.