Huge visa fee increase for vulnerable family members

A massive increase in visa fees for people applying for permission for vulnerable family members to move to the UK has been imposed by the government.

The cost of a visa for an adult dependent will leap almost 300 percent frrom £585 to £1,680 from April 6 this year – and immigration minister Phil Woolas has confirmed this is way above the actual administrative costs of the application.

JCWI has lobbied both MPs and Lords because the prohibatively expensive fees could prevent people enjoying their right to family life and could prove more discriminatory against women, who are more likely to be responsible for dependent relatives.

The liberal democrat Lord Avebury raised concerns about discrimination during the House of Lords debate.

He said: “The impact assessment states plainly that gender equality was not looked at and no results were annexed to it which enable one to judge the relative numbers of dependants and heads of households who were applying to come here and whether there was a gross disparity between the two?

“If the heads of households were predominantly men and the dependent relatives were very largely women, the huge fees charged for relatives would thereby be discriminatory.”

Dr Evan Harris, who is member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, referred to policy advice drawn up by JCWI before becoming the only MP to vote against the increases.

He told the committee: ”Imposing the sort of fee increases we are talking about on dependent relatives—often women—means that those households will face a threefold increase in the fee, but the fee will be six times as high as the estimated unit cost.

“They are being singled out and will be made to put a much larger subsidy into the system than almost all the other groups.

“If one were interested in redistribution one might ask why premier league footballers are being made to pay only 7.5 times as much as the actual cost of a settlement visa, while a dependent relative, albeit someone who cannot kick a football, is expected to pay six times as much as the estimated actual cost.”

Hina Majid, policy director at JCWI, said: “It is spectacularly retrogressive to target elderly people living in poor conditions who desperately need care and support  by their relatives in this way.”

The new fees are set out in full on the JCWI website which can be found HERE.

About jcwi

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is a key campaigning voice in the field of immigration, asylum and nationality law and policy. It is completely independent from government funding, remaining entirely free from government influence. View all posts by jcwi

One response to “Huge visa fee increase for vulnerable family members

  • Arian Asscociates OISC

    The Massive increase in the April 2010 fees in addition to being:

    contrary to Article 8 ECHR and discriminatory to women

    they may also be anti-competitive and contrary to the
    UK Competition / Enterpise Acts and also EU Equality Diretives
    and competition laws

    Precedent case: Baiai where fees of £285 were found to be excessive.

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