It is that time of year again when the Home Office decides to make it even more difficult for foreign nationals to try and regularise their stay in the UK.
The Home Office has once again announced that immigration application fees are due to increase on 6 April this year.
Unlike last year’s massive increase, this year, most fees will rise by a more modest 4%.
The main changes are as follows:
- Applications for Settlement to increase by £92 to £2389.
- Applications for Leave to Remain in the UK to increase by £40 to £1033
- Naturalisation fee to increase by £48 to £1330
- Applications to register children as British citizens to increase by £39 to £1012
A full list of the fee increases can be found here.
Although this year’s increase is not as high as in previous years, it still places even further financial pressure on those already struggling to pay to remain in the UK.
A family of four, for example ,who are eligible to apply for settlement will now have to cough up a staggering £9556 to avoid becoming overstayers.
The actual cost of each application for settlement for the Home Office is only £243 meaning that the government makes a whopping profit of over £2000 per application.
Just to extend their leave to remain, the same family would need to pay fees of £4132 in addition to the Immigration Health Surcharge of £2000, although the government has announced that this too will double this year, although no date has yet been given for when it will happen.
Again it costs the Home Office just £142 for each application meaning it is making a profit of almost £900 per application.
Perhaps the cruellest increase has been the cost of registering a child as a British citizen which at £973 was already beyond the means of many parents.
The price left children entitled to British citizenship and the sense of stability, identity and belonging that comes with it, without any legal status whatsoever, and at risk of removal from the UK.
This fee has now increased to £1012 despite it costing the Home Office just £372 to process each application.
By way of comparison, in 2010 the cost was only £386.
The current fee is considerably higher than in other European countries, with the figure standing at 80 euros in Belgium, 55 euros in France and just 51 euros in Germany.
The Home Office made approximately £24 million from these children’s applications for citizenship last year.
It certainly seems that the Home Office has imposed what is essentially a major tax on those who are entitled to settle in the UK and naturalise as British citizens, in an almost last ditch effort to extract as much money from them as possible before they complete their immigration journey.
It is a shameful policy that must be challenged.
If you do need to apply for leave to remain or extend your existing leave, and you want to avoid the higher fees, you must make your applications before 6 April 2018.\
Visadreams.com, Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London. If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your details here.