24 Oct 2016, 42 mins ago

A petition has been launched to challenge the Government’s proposals to increase immigration and asylum court fees by as much as over 600%.

The Government proposals include increasing the appeal fee in the First-tier Tribunal from £80 to £490 (increase of over 600%) for a decision on the papers and from £140 to £800 (increase of 570%) for an application for an oral hearing. A new fee of £455 for an application to the First-tier Tribunal for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal has been proposed.

Applications to the Upper Tribunal have also been targeted, with a proposed fee of £350 for an application to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal (where permission has been refused by the First-tier Tribunal), and a fee of £510 for an appeal hearing where permission has been granted.

If the proposals go ahead, they would make the immigration and asylum court system the only part of the court and tribunal service that is funded entirely by appellants.

There is a growing concern that the massive application fees will act as a barrier to an appeal in the first place and that consequently the number of appeals will reduce substantially, with appellants being unable to afford access to justice.

The Government will respond to the petition if it obtains at least 10,000 signatures. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

The petition can be signed using the following link: