Following biggest clamp down in UK Immigration law, over the past 4 decades, with the announced issuance of Visas for South African citizens to enter the UK, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) have recently announced their proposed fee increases for 2009 and 2010. In an effort to recoup the roll-out costs of their tough new Immigration regime, and simultaneously relieve the burden from UK tax payers, the UKBA are set to target the recent fee increases directly at migrants and tourists wishing to visit the UK.
In one of the largest immigration shakeups to date, the improvements to systems and technology are set to cost the UKBA close on £2.2 billion over the coming 2 years to ensure the security of its borders. 30% of this costly exercise is set to be recouped through migrant and tourist application fees.
According to Stephen Atkinson from expert immigration group 1st Contact “some of the most detested increases will be for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and Naturalisation for individuals residing in the UK waiting to attain full UK citizenship rights. On 3 April 2006 the British government increased the qualifying period for ILR from 4 to 5 years for certain visa categories (such as Ancestry) which involved paying between £335-£395 in fees to gain the extra year extension (as Ancestry visas prior to 3 April 2006 were only issued for 4 years). Then on 2 April 2007 the British government increased the fees for ILR from £335 to £750 and from £500 to £950, as well as increasing the fees for Naturalisation from £268 to £655”.
According to Atkinson, regardless of the radical new immigration regime, the UK will always be a destination of choice for travellers and workers alike, due to it’s proximity to Europe and the eastern United States. Atkinson adds that from a career development perspective, the UK offers many opportunities in one of the most coveted markets globally, which enhances one’s CV.