Are Home Office Visa Applications Too Expensive?

It may come as no surprise to some of you already currently regularising your stay in the UK, that the Home Office nationality and immigration applications fees have steadily been increasing over the years. Annual increases of 20% or 25% per year has become the standard for several years now, bringing the current cost of an application for indefinite leave to remain in March 2019 to £2,389.

What’s even more surprising is that the actual cost to process an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain is £243, which means that the Home Office are generating a significant amount of income for each application. Similarly, Tier 2 Shortage Occupation applications, administration cost £127, yet the Home Office charge a staggering £928 for applicants to submit their applications.

The cost of ILR is the last milestone in a long journey of application. The total costs of applying to enter the UK as a spouse, for example, are far higher once all the different applications and fees are considered.

Fees for Leave to Remain applications were only introduced from 2003 and the increase in fees had begun from 2006/2007. The updated list of fees for immigration and nationality applications that apply from 29 March 2019 surprisingly shows that most fees remain unchanged from last year. 2019. January 2019 also saw the Immigration Health surcharge sky double from a staggering £200 per year to £400.

It seems obvious that the reason for such increase in fees is due to the Home Offices’ budget. The Autumn 2015 Spending Review indicated that the Home Office was aiming to achieve “a fully self-funded borders and immigration system.” Stating the following;

“Savings were needed but the remainder will be funded through targeted visa fee increases, which will remove the burden on the UK taxpayer while ensuring the UK remains a competitive place for work, travel and study internationally.”

It is quite evident that the increase of fees has made it increasingly difficult for families to afford Home Offices fees. The Guardian have even informed that the Home Office fees have caused some families to go destitute.

But the government’s next Spending Review is well overdue. Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, said that it is now unlikely the Spending Review will follow its original schedule and implied we’ll have to wait until the revenue budgets are set in 2020.