Changes to immigration fees considered by ParliamentA range of changes to the fees charged for visas and immigration services have been presented to Parliament. If approved, the new charges will apply from 6 April 2014. Most fees are set to increase by at least 4% according the the UKBA announcement.
The UKBA have stated the fees are being increased to ‘allow [them] to improve customer service, and enable [them] to begin offering optional premium services’. Planned premium services include:
- a 3-5 day priority visa service costing £100 on top of other visa fees
- a priority settlement application service, costing £300
- a super priority visa service for £600, which will expedite the application process to the shortest period possible
- appointments outside of office hours for a fee of £50
- offering a passport passback service at more locations, which will be charged at £40 per applicant.
A limited number of fees are marked for reduction in an attempt to balance costs across the system. These include:
- reducing the fee for direct airside transit visa to £40
- reducing sponsorship fees for Tier 2 large sponsor licenses and sponsor action plans, and freezing a number of other sponsorship fees
- introducing a Tier 2 shortage occupations fee of £428 for applicants both overseas and in the UK
- introducing a new 5 year Tier 2 general/ICT application
- changing the discount for nationals of countries that have ratified the 1961 European Social Charter to a flat rate of £55.