The Home Office laid legislation in Parliament to be able to increase visa fees, as well as immigration and nationality application fees over the next four years.
The aim is to reduce taxpayer contributions towards the Border, Immigration and Citizenship system and ensure that by 2019-2020 the system is self funded by those who access services. This intention was outlined in the Government’s recent Spending Review.
Increased visa fees will enable the Home Office to deliver a visa system that attracts visitors to the UK and welcomes the ‘brightest and best’ migrants from around the world to do business and invest in the UK, whilst ensuring that those who directly benefit from accessing services within the system make an appropriate contribution to the costs.
This is the summary of the proposed visa fees changes in 2016-2017:
- Visas linked most closely to economic growth, such as those offered to workers and students, will be restricted to an increase of 2%.
- In recognition of the UK’s position as one of the world’s top tourist destinations and to help maintain this position amongst our competitors, a 2% increase will apply to all visit visas.
- Fees for all sponsorship categories will be held at the current rates.
- Up to 25% increases for settlement and nationality fees. These products deliver the most benefits to successful applicants, for example indefinite leave to remain in the UK, full access to free healthcare and other public services, and unrestricted access to the labour market.
- Up to 33% for optional premium services offered by the Home Office such as the super premium service and priority visa services overseas.
The Home Office are constantly improving their services to meet the needs of applicants and partners, both in the UK and overseas. Currently 95% of visit visa applications are decided within 15 working days. Also Premium Service Centre opening hours have been extended and a personalised account management service for sponsors is offered.
If you are thinking of making an application, make sure you collect all the documents before the increase in visa fees in April 2016. Feel free to contact us for help with preparing your application and any immigration enquiries you might have.