The immigration minister Mr Damian Green has issued a statement in which he proposes to increase fees for applications to study, visit, work or stay in the UK. The government will introduce the fees by laying two separate regulations in Parliament. The proposed fees will only be effected after they have been debated and approved in Parliament. If adopted, the fees are expected to take effect from 6 April 2011.
Importantly, the government’s spending review means that the Home Office is forced to reduce its budget up to 20 per cent.
Therefore, the UKBA is trying to offset its strangled funding (stampeded by the Chancellor’s belt-tightening) with “efficiency savings of approximately £500 million by reducing support costs, increasing efficiencies, boosting productivity and improving value for money from commercial suppliers.”
However, according to the agency, “these measures will not go far enough, and to address the funding shortfall the UK Border Agency will need to increase fees for financial year 2011/12.”
The UKBA insists “that the proposals to increase fees continue to strike the right balance between maintaining secure and effective border controls”. Ultimately the agency is of the view that more money raised from fees should be used to develop a more robust immigration control system.