Written statement to Parliament

Charging for immigration and nationality services 2011-12

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

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 28 February 2011 by Damian Green, and in the House of Lords by Baroness…

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons on 28 February 2011 by Damian Green, and in the House of Lords by Baroness Neville-Jones. The fees appear in the annex .

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. I will shortly lay regulations for fees that are set at levels above the normal administrative costs of the service. We have continued with our strategic approach to charging; setting certain fees above cost on the basis of the value of the service.

These fees must be set out in regulations before both Houses of Parliament and are subject to the affirmative procedure. The fees allow 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 contribute towards securing our borders and controlling migration for the benefit of the UK. I will lay another set of regulations in Parliament for the fees for immigration and nationality services that are set at / below the cost of the service.

A table with details of all the proposed increases is set out at Annex A. The table includes indicative unit costs for each application for FY 11/12. 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 so it is clear which fees we set over cost and by how much. Further details of all fees changes will be outlined in the explanatory memoranda accompanying both the regulations.

Given the need to reduce public spending, we have had to carefully consider our fee levels, to ensure we can maintain good service levels to our customers and secure the border for the general public. In principle it is the right time to ask migrants to make a greater contribution to funding the UK Border Agency than was previously the case. Therefore we should continue to seek a shift in the funding provided by migrants to deliver the border and immigration system with a consequent reduction in the burden on UK taxpayers.

In developing these proposals, we have sought to limit increases so as to avoid any broader economic impact (particularly on the most economically sensitive route of all, short-term visit visas).

I believe these 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 make a valued contribution. It is right that those who benefit directly from the immigration system should pay to meet the costs of securing the UK’s borders. This will help to support the immigration system, maintain public confidence, and ensure that migration is managed for the benefit of the UK.

Full details on how to apply for all of these services will be provided on the UK Border Agency website.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Date: Mon Feb 28 15:31:07 GMT 2011

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