Let Us Learn and Coram Children’s Legal Centre, working together on the ‘We Belong’ campaign, welcome today’s pledge from Labour to end the current ‘rip off’ of immigration application fees by reducing them to closer reflect the actual cost price of processing applications.
As noted in the speech by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, many immigration fees and charges are exorbitant and hit the poor hardest. Limited leave to remain fees, for example, have increased from £601 in 2014 to £1,033 in 2018, a rise of 72%. The cost of processing the application is only £142, meaning that 86% (£891) of this represents profit to the Home Office. Many young people will have to make at least five of these applications before they can apply for citizenship, costing nearly £10,000 in total.
The high cost of the immigration system is having a devastating effect on young people who have grown up in this country and spent their whole lives integrating into British society.
The We Belong campaign is calling for the Government to make an immediate commitment not to increase application fees for limited leave to remain (including the Immigration Health Surcharge) beyond the current level for young people and to commission a review into the effects of the current route to settlement on young migrants. Ultimately, we want to see the introduction of a shorter, more affordable route to permanent status and stability for all children and young people who have grown up in the UK.
We welcome today’s commitment from Labour on immigration application fees and urge the Government to implement changes to the current system without delay.