UNITED KINGDOM - New UKBA Visa Application Fees From 6 April 2012
The UK Border Agency has announced its provisional new fees, to be charged from 6 April 2012 (subject to parliamentary approval). Fees are set to increase significantly. In addition, a proposal for an optional “premium” status fee for sponsors has been made.
What Do The New Fees Look Like?
The new fees are significantly higher. The key points to note are:
- Tier 1 General Extension application fees will increase by 50 per cent from £1,000 to £1,500;
- Tier 2 visa fees will increase by 20 per cent, from £400 to £480;
- Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer fees (for less than 12 months) will increase from £350 to £400;
- The Tier 4 visa fee will increase to £289 and Tier 5 fees to £194;
- The fees for a sponsor licence will increase from £1,025 to £1,500 for a large sponsor licence;
- A new Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa route will be piloted to allow graduates from UK Universities to stay in the UK;
- The announcement indicates a future intention to substantially increase fees paid by dependents (i.e. in line with main applicant fees).
New Fee Proposal for ‘Enhanced’ Customer Service
It also appears that the UKBA is set to offer a new optional Premium status to Tier 2 and 5 sponsors for enhanced levels of customer service. Few details have been announced to date but it appears that, for £25,000 a year (or a mere £8,000 a year for small sponsors), employers will be afforded certain benefits for their annual fee, including: access to a named licence manager, priority access to appointments at public enquiry offices and attendance at premium sponsor events.
The UKBA’s concept of charging employers thousands of pounds for an ‘enhanced’ level of customer service is an audacious one. The UKBA has consistently come under formal criticism for delivering poor service. It has a huge backlog of cases and has been receiving an increasing level of complaints. We therefore await further clarification on how a proposal to charge substantial fees for fundamental customer services can be justified.
- Note the new fees and budget accordingly.