New immigration fees and new products announced
The Immigration Minister yesterday announced proposals to increase fees for immigration and nationality applications from 6th April, 2012. Fees are proposed to increase by an average of 2%, although some categories will see larger increases in order to keep other categories’ fees lower to ‘support wider government objectives’, i.e. subsidise those immigration routes they like and discourage those they don’t like.
It was announced early last year that the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category would be closed on 6th April, 2012. The Immigration Minister has since announced a new visa category for international graduate entrepreneurs, described as “those international students who have engaged in supervised entrepreneurial activity during their university studies in the UK and who want to stay on after their studies to develop their ideas”. This visa category will enable successful applicants to remain in the UK for two years. The fees for this new Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) category have also been published and the category is due to come into effect in April 2012.
There are also new ‘products’ announced. A Premium Scheme service will be introduced from April 2012 allowing companies to apply for a Tier 2 sponsor licence and have their applications decided the same day. Categories that were previously required to apply under other visa categories will now have their own Immigration Rule and specific fee: Refugee dependant relatives applying for settlement and media representatives. Armed Forces Dependants applying for settlement will also have their own fee.
These fees proposals will need to be approved by the Houses of parliament before they become law but there is nothing controversial announced and it is expected the proposals as they are now published will become law on 6th April, 2012.
Posted on Feb 09, 2012.