Government raises immigration fees across the board

29 Feb 16

UNITED KINGDOM

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The U.K. Home Office will raise immigration fees on March 18 across the board for applicants within the U.K. and applying overseas.

What does the change mean? The largest increases will be felt by settlement applicants and those applying for indefinite leave to remain. Tier 2 visa application filing fees will rise minimally. Points-based sponsors will not see any increases to their sponsorship fees.

  • Implementation time frame: March 18.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas, permits, certificates, naturalization, optional premium services and other immigration-related applications within and outside the U.K.
  • Who is affected: British employers and foreign nationals applying for immigration-related services.
  • Business impact: The new government fee schedule will impact budgets and increase the costs of placing workers in the U.K.
  • Next steps: Employers should factor the new fees into their plans for 2016.

Background: The Home Office announced the new fees today. The most notable increases are settlement applications, which will rise to £1,195 (an increase of £239) for the main applicant and £2,676 (an increase of £535) for dependent family members, and applications for indefinite leave to remain, which will rise to £1,875 (an increase of £375).

Some optional premium services will also jump: Super Priority visa service will rise to £750 (an increase of £150) and Super Premium Service from within the U.K. will surge to £8,750 (an increase of £1,750). Tier 2 routes will see modest increases from £10-26, depending on the sub-route.

A full schedule of the government fees is available here.

BAL Analysis: The increases were expected, as the government continues to look to price controls as a means to limit immigration. Annual fee hikes have become the norm over recent years, with the Home Office continuing to charge beyond mere cost recovery, depending on the perceived benefit of the category. As such, government fees for settlement applications from outside the U.K. and indefinite leave to remain applications from within the U.K. – both of which confer the right to remain in the U.K. permanently – will rise more steeply.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

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