The Autumn Spending Review of HM Treasury reveals hopes for a fully self-funded immigration system with a view to saving £600 million. Exactly how much the proposed savings will directly affect applicants is unclear but the Review states:
“the government will invest over £250 million to enable passports and visas to be processed online. The remainder will be funded through targeted visa fee increases”
So it looks as though there could be a large increase in visa fees if HM Treasury are expecting to make such huge savings. Exactly when such fees will bought in is not known.
In other funding matters the costs dispute between HM Treasury and HM Courts and Tribunals Service is allegedly the cause for delays in the listing of cases at the Tribunals, according to the Free Movement blog. Despite this initially being reported months ago, attempts by this office to chase for hearing dates are still being met with answers that appeals lodged over six months ago have still not been listed. Such delays leave clients in a state of uncertainty and often cause a great deal of anxiety. Whether this funding dispute will also have repercussions for those in the immigration system remains to be seen.
Court charges have already been used in order to make the courts more self-sufficient in the criminal courts. One such charge was a fixed penalty which had to be imposed regardless of the means of the accused. The charge was increased if a non-guilty plea later lead to a guilty verdict. It caused a number of Magistrates to resign in protest as they saw it as encouraging ‘the innocent to plead guilty’, according to the Guardian. However, it has recently been announced by the Law Gazette that following mounting criticism the controversial charge is due to be scrapped on 24 December 2015.