Excessive Home Office Fees

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
9 April 2019

It is a known fact that the Home Office processing fees are far and above the actual administrative costs to the Department. The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration reported on the Home Office policies in relation to immigration and citizenship charging fees. The findings are upsetting. It states that the Home Office, borders immigration and citizenship system is a two plus billion-pound operation. The Home Office works closely with the HM Treasury and therefore the Treasury’s approval is required for all fee proposals. In 2016 the Home Office set out its intention to increase its fees by 2% each year, for four years, for applications of work, visitors and study. The increase for family leave and nationality was to be increased by 8%. In May 2018 the House of Lords debated a “motion of regret” regarding the fee for a child wishing to register their entitlement to British citizenship. The motion caused the Government to withdraw the proposed 2018 fee increase until it had published the “best interests” impact assessment of the fee level and establish an independent review of the registration fee for children. The motion was voted down and the 2018 increases to these applications stands. The child citizenship registration fee attracted a great deal of adverse comments and many challenges, not only to its level but also its legitimacy.

At Danielle Cohen Solicitors we are aware of the impact of fees on our clients. The Home Office fees result in hardship and suffering and there is a real impact on children and other vulnerable groups, which are affected. We endorse the Chief Inspector’s recommendations that applications which are unsuccessful should be refunded, with the Home Office only retaining the administrative costs. The Home Office should articulate in simple language how they justify their specific fee levels or the annual increases. The Home Office should publish a breakdown of how the Benefits to individual migrants have been calculated for each fee.