The Home Office has announced that fees for work permit and other leave to remain applications will be increased beginning April 2005 in order to save UK taxpayers approximately £100 million in 2005-06.
The Government has been in consultation with businesses on whether or not to include fees for appeals and enforcement procedures in the overall fee for a particular immigration service. This would mean that migrants would be responsible for the costs of delivering these services, rather than the taxpayers. Last year over £70 million in fees for immigration services have been raised to cover costs that would have otherwise been borne by UK taxpayers.
The government is considering increasing fee for the following immigration applications:
- Work permit extension charge may increase from £121 to between £265 and £300.
- Further Leave to Remain (FLR) fees for people like students and spouses may rise also from £250 for a premium service to between £430 and £495.
- Fees for the Sectors Based Scheme (SBS), targeted at recruitment in the hospitality and food processing sectors, may rise from £153 to between £230 and £270;
- Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) fees may rise from £150 to between £320 and £375;
The Government has stated that although it is in the interest of the country to welcome foreign students and workers who will contribute to the economy, those who reap the benefits of stay in the UK should cover the costs of providing such services. The Home Office Minister believes that the proposed fees are fair and required to ensure an efficient 'self-financing migration programme.'
Further proposals from the consultations include:
- Introducing a new payment method for customers;
- Introducing fees for foreign nationals who are in the UK for a limited period to transfer their limited LTR stamp into a new passport or travel document;
- Introducing separate travel documents for children who have been granted refugee status