Written statement to Parliament

Charging for Immigration and Nationality Services 2010 to 2011

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Proposals to change the fees for immigration and nationality applications made to the UK Border Agency. The Government reviews…

I am announcing proposals to change the fees for immigration and nationality applications made to the UK Border Agency. The Government reviews these fees on a regular basis and makes appropriate changes as necessary.

The Chancellor’s Emergency Budget set out the state of the nation’s finances and demonstrated the very difficult choices that must be made to reduce the budget deficit. As part of that, the Government has looked again at the contribution made towards the costs of running an immigration system by the users of that system, balanced against those costs met by the UK taxpayer and we believe proposals to increase fees at this time are in the best interests of the UK. Securing the border brings with it an unavoidable core of cost, especially as we seek to improve customer service for visa applicants: something which we believe is important in the efficient running of the UK economy.

We set some fees above the administrative cost of providing the service. This allows us to generate revenue which is used to fund the UK immigration system and to set certain fees below cost recovery to support wider government objectives. The revenue generated will continue to strengthen our capability in underpinning technology and process improvement. For transparency, I have included details of the estimated unit cost for each route, so that it is clear the degree to which individual routes are set above or below cost.

I will shortly lay two sets of Regulations in Parliament to effect fee increases and the table below sets out details of all the proposed increases. The table includes indicative unit costs for each application for 10/11. The unit cost is the estimated average cost to UK Border Agency of processing each application. Although our unit costs are not fixed over the course of the financial year, we publish unit costs to enable you to see which fees we set over cost and by how much. Further details of all fees changes will be outlined in the Explanatory Memoranda accompanying the Regulations.

Regulations to set fees at or below the cost of processing are subject to the negative parliamentary procedure and I propose these fees will increase from 1 October 2010. Where we charge a fee that is set above the processing cost, the Regulations are subject to the affirmative parliamentary process, and I aim for these fees to come into effect in November, subject to Parliamentary timetabling.

I believe our proposals continue to strike the right balance between maintaining secure and effective border controls, and ensuring that our fees structure does not inhibit the UK’s ability to attract those migrants and visitors who most benefit the UK. In principle it is right that those who benefit most from the immigration system should bear a higher share of the contribution to the running of the system.

Full details on how to apply for all of these services will be provided on our website www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk. Details of the charges are in the document below. 

Thursday 9 September 2010

Date: Wed Sep 08 11:25:58 BST 2010

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