A committee of MPs will meet on Wednesday to discuss proposed visa fees increases – which include a near three-fold like in charges for bringing an elderly relative into the UK when they need support.
JCWI has spent this morning lobbying MPs and providing them with a briefing and legal opinion which warns the new fees could stop the poor and destitute enjoying their human right to a family life. More information can be found on this blog HERE.
We are asking our supporters to email members of the committee asking them to consider the points made by JCWI before reaching a decision. Ultimately, we would like the fees to be dropped for people who cannot afford them.
This would ensure the Government met its obligations under human rights law. It would also encourage overstayers to apply for leave to remain and therefore become regularised.
The letter can be sent via email to the committee chairman Nigel Evans MP. We also suggest sending it to the committee members who are most likely to be sympathetic to our arguments.
These include Lib Dem Dr Evan Harris as he sits on the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights and Labour MP Julie Morgan who was assistant director of Barnardo’s and voted against cuts in disability benefits.
I write today to ask urgently that you consider voting against the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2010 which will go to committee on Wednesday.
We are concerned that the Government is raising money by increasing fees for visas for dependent relatives.
We note that JCWI has real concerns about the compatibility of these regulations with the Human Rights Act on account of the limited power to waive in country immigration fees.
We believe that the absence of any power to waive in country immigration fees for overstayers seeking to regularise their stay leads to an absurd position where they are unable to do this. This is inconsistent with an effective system of immigration control and positively militates against it.
Finally, the above difficulties make the three-fold increase in fees for dependent relatives, and the introduction of fees for dependant particularly problematic, with the latter having discriminatory impacts upon women, and those from developing countries.
We ask that the Human Rights Act be considered with regard to the implementation of the current fees regime.
We believe that the fee increases represent a tax on the most desperate and will be deeply unpopular with the public at a time when there is still much concern about the amount claimed in expenses by MPs during very difficult economic times.