UPDATE: Government Approve 500% Increase In Immigration Fees

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The Law Of... increasing immigration costs

Following a consultation on the subject earlier this year, the government have announced that they will be proceeding with a proposal to increase the cost of immigration appeals.

The Law Of... increasing immigration costs

Ashley Stothard, Paralegal on the Immigration team, explains the fee increases and looks at the responses the government received during their consultation period.

Changes To Fees

Looking to recoup all of the costs of handling appeals on immigration applications, the government will be moving forward with the following fee increases:

  • First-tier immigration tribunals will see applications for a decision on papers increase from £80 to £490 and applications for an oral hearing rise from £140 to £800
  • Applications to the first-tier tribunal for permission to appeal to an upper tribunal were previously uncharged and will now incur a cost of £455
  • An application to the upper tribunal for permission to appeal (which can be made if the appeal to the first-tier tribunal has been refused) did not incur a charge, they will now cost £350
  • An appeal hearing was previously free, however they will now cost £510

It is claimed that these changes will generate £34 million of income every year.

Part of the consultation looked to address concerns about access to justice for those in vulnerable positions; as such the following groups will be exempt of paying fees in a first-tier tribunal:

Consultation Responses

In their consultation, the government asked if respondents agreed with their fee changes, the overwhelming majority did not.

In subsequent questions relating to waiver schemes and exceptions, a handful of respondents continued to raise concerns about the fee changes themselves.

Ashley comments:

"We have no idea when these fee increases are going to come into play but they could have a significant impact on those seeking to remain in the UK."

"As we suspected, the exemptions for those in particularly vulnerable positions extends to those with access to legal aid, those whose citizenship could be in jeopardy, and vulnerable children who are bringing an appeal to the tribunal."

"There are already so many barricades for those seeking to live in the UK and it feels that placing financial obstacles will only further their struggle."

"We maintain our position that an individual's financial situation should not be an excuse to hinder their access to justice and our legal system."

"More than ever, those who are going through the immigration process are encouraged to seek legal advice as soon as possible."

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