UK Visas and Immigration have confirmed that later this month (or next month in the case of the Isle of Man) there will be a rise in the cost of visa application fees for many migrants wishing to come to the UK.
The rates of increase are wide ranging. An increase of around 2% will be reflected in most application fees, including visas for students and workers, which are seen as being linked to economic growth. Similarly, visitor visas will only be subject to a 2% increase with the aim of ensuring that Britain remains a favoured tourist destination. A more notable increase can be seen, however, in respect of application fees for settlement, residence and nationality which are set to increase by a whopping 25%.
It is clear that these rises, which come into effect on 18 March (6 April in the Isle of Man), are not intended to impact equally on all migrants wishing to enter into the UK. For example, the new fee for Adult Dependant Relatives entering the UK will be £2,676; rising starkly from the previous £2,141. This stands in comparison with a rise of only £7 for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa.
The Home Office hopes that increased visa fees will eventually lead to a ‘self-funding system’, however, it also wants to ensure that the UK remains attractive to businesses, migrants and visitors from outside the EEA. Bearing in mind both of these goals, it’s not difficult to make out the rationale behind this month’s changes – limit increases in fees for students, visitors and workers so as not to deter people from coming the UK in the first place and make up the deficit by imposing hefty hikes on non-EEA nationals who have already established a life in the UK and want to remain.