The UK Government has today announced proposed fee hikes for visa, immigration and nationality applications and services in 2009/10.
Student visa application fees are set to rise from £99 to £145, an increase of around 50%.
The increased revenue will “enable the UK Border Agency to continue providing a world-class immigration service while reducing the burden on United Kingdom taxpayers”.
The Government said it needs the money to pay for tough new border controls and the points based system, and that “United Kingdom taxpayers should not bear the full cost”.
In 2009/10 the UK Border Agency will spend over £2.2 billion on securing the UK’s border and managing the immigration system. Just 30% of this spending will be recovered through fees from applications and the services.
Considering the UK Border Agency (UKBA) describes itself as a “business”, this does not look like a very sound business plan. We all know of course that the UKBA is not a real business at all.
Once again, hardworking migrants, students and those employers who need overseas workers will be expected to pay more to obtain their visas and licences, despite the fact that the UK gains billions in additional tax revenue and direct benefits to the economy.