Dr Adam Marshall, the executive director of policy from the British Chambers of Commerce, has today conveyed his concerns that the Home Secretary’s plans to increase UK visa fees may deter business visitors to the UK. At the beginning of this month, we reported that the Home Office had announced proposals to increase most visa fees by 4% including short term visit visas which they believe will allow them to improve their customer service and enable them to offer premium services. However, these proposals have been met with apprehension by the business community who fear that additional costs will deter business visitors from coming to the UK.
Home Secretary Theresa May to Dramatically Increase UK Visa Fees
According to government figures, maintaining the UK’s immigration system currently costs approximately £1.75bn per annum, approximately half of which is recovered through fees from applications and services offered by the Home Office. Theresa May is now seeking to increase visa fees dramatically to help to plug a £50 million hole in the Home Office budget.
The plan, revealed in leaked documents, may provoke a fresh row with Downing Street who has made boosting students and business visits to Britain a priority. Increase to visa fees is likely to affect groups such as overseas students, who currently pay at least £80 when applying for a six-month visa to the UK.
Increase in UK Visa Fees ‘Unacceptable’ – UK Business Community
Dr Adam Marshall from the British Chambers of Commerce has spoken out against the Home Secretary’s proposals and has told the Huffington Post UK:
“Piling additional costs on the business community is an unacceptable way to plug a hole in the Home Office budget. Both exports and inward investment depend on simple and cost-effective access to visas. Higher costs will deter business visitors, and could result in cancelled or delayed business deals.
This is exactly the wrong signal to send to the business community when we are focusing all our efforts on getting into new markets across the globe. If the Home Office has a budget gap, it should look to trim its own expenses before adding further to the already-high cost of doing business here in the UK.”
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