The independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has launched an inquiry into Home Office fees. Bolt’s investigation will “look at the rationale and authority for particular charges, including amounts charged” and whether the services are being provided “efficiently and effectively”.
Fees for immigration and nationality applications have risen steadily since 2010. The fees for an adult naturalisation application, for example, have increased from £700 in 2011 to £1,330. This is despite the fact that the cost to the Home Office of processing such an application is just £372. Figures released to the BBC show the Home Office made £800 million in revenue from immigration fees in six years.
Concerns have repeatedly been raised about the potential profit being made by the Home Office from applications given the seemingly low cost of processing them. In fact, it has been suggested that the Home Office makes profits of up to 800% on some immigration applications. The fees for application for indefinite leave to remain, for example, are currently £2,389 per person. However, the Home Office’s own figures show the unit cost of processing the application to be just £252.
This inquiry comes at the same time that MPs and campaigners have called for urgent action to reduce Home Office fees stating that it “is never acceptable for them to make a profit on these crucial activities”. Stephen Doughty MP has declared that given “the repeated shambles in the Home Office over a series of immigration processes, let alone the widening scandal over highly skilled migrants, many people will rightly ask whether the Home Office provides value for money to individual citizens and applicants”.
This issue of fees is one of a growing number facing the Home Office and comes hot on the heels of the Windrush scandal. Time will tell if this inquiry results in any reduction to the level of Home Office fees, or whether they will continue to rise year on year as they have under the ‘hostile environment’ policy.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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