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The Guardian: Home Office making huge profits on some visa applications

Date of Publication: 
1 September 2017

Fees up to 700% higher than processing costs, some applicants forced to repay

The Guardian: Home Office making huge profits on some visa applications

01 September 2017

The Guardian reported in an article today that it had analysed Home Office visa fees and found a "vast discrepancy" between how much it costs the Government to process immigration applications and the fees it charges.

According to the Guardian, the Home Office is making profits of up to 700% on some applications.

The article says that it costs the Home Office £252 to process each application for indefinite leave to enter or remain, but the department charges a fee of £2,297.

In addition, the Guardian raised concerns over immigration applications that are turned down over technicalities, forcing applicants to reapply and pay again.

One British man who had to pay twice for the correct visa for his Taiwanese wife told the Guardian: "A key angle of our story is that the Home Office are charging excessive sums for applications that greatly exceed the cost of processing the applications. They are profiting from every application and profiting even more so when they reject applications.

"Most people will have no choice but to submit further applications at additional expense, and the Home Office profit. They are exploiting vulnerable people and are incentivised to do so."

Immigration barrister Jan Doerfel welcomed the Guardian's highlighting of the issue and said that some of the most expensive fees were for applications that had the least chance of success and had been interpreted extremely restrictively, with, for example, the visa for an adult dependent relative costing up to £3,250.

The Home Office said it strongly denies that financial incentives influence its immigration decisions. A Home Office spokesman was quoted by the Guardian as saying said the fees "strike a balance between generating income and maintaining global competitiveness" and ensure that "those who benefit directly from it contribute appropriately".