If like us you’ve been looking at the UKBA’s new fees proposals, then no doubt you will be in a mild state of disbelief. You too presumably would have undergone a process of checking, rechecking, and then checking again (with the aid of a highlighter and a ruler) the small table that comes attached to the latest correspondence from the UK Border Agency about fees for immigration applications.
Basically UKBA are proposing yet further immigration application/nationality fee increases. There’s nothing surprising about that in itself, but what it is both surprising and disconcerting at the same time are the proposals to almost triple the fees that ‘dependent relatives’ will pay for visa and settlement purposes. This is the immigration route that dependent elderly parents and grandparents living alone in unsatisfactory conditions in circumstances where their sponsor is settled in the UK will come through.
The proposal for ‘dependant relatives’ is for visa fees to be increased from £585.00 to £1680.00, and for the cost of making a settlement applications to rise from £820 to £1680.00, or £1930 (applications made at the Public Enquiry Office) with what seems like an additional fee of £213.00 or £238.00 (PEO applications) in the case of an in person for each additional dependant.
Additionally it’s proposed that the UKBA will introduce a separate fee for the dependants (who tend overwhelmingly to be female) of pricipal applicants in the UK who apply for further leave to remain or settlement. The fee will be 10 % of the cost of the main application. On this basis you can expect a family of 5 applying to settle in the UK paying somewhere in the region of £1227.00 for this purpose.
Clearly if these regulations are passed many people who might otherwise fulfil the legal criteria for entry/on-going residence, will simply be unable to remain or enter the UK. Quite apart from these measures being contrary to the principle of rule of law, and generating a variety of concerns from the point of view of the right to enjoyment of private and family without discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights, it is of course spectacularly retrogressive to target elderly people living in poor conditions who desperately need care and support by their relatives in this way.
What can you do?
These proposals can be found in the Draft Immigration and Nationality Fees Regulations 2010. They need to be approved both by the House of Commons and the House of Lords before they become law. Only those MP’s who are actually appointed to the parliamentary Committee looking at these regulations may vote in the House of Commons on whether the regulations should pass or not. In contrast, this will just be dealt with on the floor of the House of Lords.
No date has as yet been set for these purposes, nor is there as yet an appointed Committee. We will be updating our blog with details about this so that you can contact relevant parliamentarians to raise your concerns. In the mean-time it is worth contacting your own MP . If you are a member of a trade union you should raise these concerns with your union representatives.
Follow the link below for UKBA’s letter outlining the fees structure: