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UK immigration changes

For all of you who are resident in the UK but not citizens and have missed the news, the Home Office is raising application fees as of the first of April, in some cases very substantially. All visa costs are going up, however, including all the basic work and student visas. (Details here. The Home Office has only published this list in PDF, which isn't nearly so elegant to link to.)

Notable changes include raising the cost of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain from £335 to £750; the price of naturalization application rises from £200 to £575. The price of a student visa will change from £250 to £295.

Also, as of April 2nd, anyone applying for indefinite leave to remain will need to take the "Life in the UK" exam first.

While technically these fees are still only "proposed", odds are high that they will be implemented.

(Thank you to the two of you who brought this to my attention. It doesn't immediately affect me. The Home Office still has several years to raise their fees again before I'm eligible to apply for anything else here.)

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
gillo
Mar. 13th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)
I feel I should apologise. I didn't vote for the moneygrubbing bastards.
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:05 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you'll feel much better about when you know why they're raising the fees:
We will spend the funds raised by the fees on:

providing additional enforcement to ferret out illegal workers and the employers who exploit them
building new detention centres to securely hold those who are awaiting decisions on their asylum claims or who are waiting deportation following a failed application
helping employers check their employees' nationality status
running campaigns abroad to explain the UK's immigration rules
increasing the rate and number of illegal immigrants who are sent back to their home countries

Doesn't that make you feel warm and fuzzy?
gillo
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
It makes me feel ashamed, frankly. It's all about pandering to Mail readers and knee-jerk responses to manufactured emergencies.

mithent
Mar. 13th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
Hrm, so making it more difficult to immigrate legally will reduce illegal immigration, eh?
(no subject) - owlfish - Mar. 13th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - noncalorsedumor - Mar. 14th, 2007 06:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
sioneva
Mar. 14th, 2007 11:06 am (UTC)
What the fees actually will do, I suspect, is continue to increase the number of illegal immigrants because they can't afford to pay for the legal immigration process in the first place. God knows I don't have £575 extra to spend to make myself a citizen. We don't really have £268 either but at least that we can scrape together a bit more reasonably.
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:09 pm (UTC)
Don't mind my sarcasm. You know it's not meant personally.
gillo
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
I'm a)a Brit and b) a teacher. We get sarcasm.
(no subject) - owlfish - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gillo - Mar. 13th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
kekhmet
Mar. 13th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)
Yikes! thanks for bringing this to my attention!

There are also changes to the fees charged for visa applications done outside the country. Looking at the official UK Visas site, those changes are defineitely going in. UK Visas item on it here.
I need to get a new LTR visa for my new Work Permit in the next couple months. The price difference between in country LTR and out of country LTE was big enough before that I was planning to check with the home office whether doing it as a LTE from the US would cause problems when I go to add up my years on WP/HSMP for ILR in another 4 yrs or so (have almost 1 yr of the 5 done at this point...) - Cos with a price difference as it was - that was £335 for LTR vs. £85 for LTE - which nearly pays for the airfare on a trip back to the states!

Now... after April 1, not so much so... £350 LTR vs. £200 LTE. (Work permit LTR is going up less than some other categories, provided one applies via the post of course...)

Bloody glad I hadn't already booked flights for an appointment *after* April Fool's Day and stuff based on the old prices working to my advantage

Time to figure out what I'm doing for certain... which might be "take a trip home REAL SOON" ;-)
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:09 pm (UTC)
Well observed, and something I should have made clear. (For example, for anyone wandering by and seeing the student fees - if you apply from abroad to be a student in the UK, the rates are going up from £85 to £99, i.e. a whole lot less than if you apply from within the UK.)

That's a hard call - especially given how far in March we are already - and can you get an appointment in time? I imagine there's more of a rush than usual just now - but may be worth a try anyways.
kekhmet
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:21 pm (UTC)
well usually there's not a problem getting an in person appointment in chicago. but yes, there may be a bit of a run on appointments at the mo!

the bigger issue is- if it turns out to make sense to do it, can I get the time off work at such short notice?
help me..... - kaylasaira - Apr. 21st, 2007 10:20 am (UTC) - Expand
agincourtgirl
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:19 pm (UTC)
It is a bit early here for me to understand all this - I am planning to get a work permit here, move to the UK, work, and then get married and stay in the UK. What is an "Indefinite Leave to Remain" and if I remain an American, why would I need to take a "Life in the UK" exam?
taldragon
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC)
indefinite leave to remain = permanent residency, if 've understood correctly. basically, this means there's no timelimit on you staying in the UK, and it's the first step towards citizenship.

you need to take the life in the UK exam because it's compulsory for people applying for indefinite leave/citizenship.
(no subject) - owlfish - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taldragon - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taldragon - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taldragon - Mar. 13th, 2007 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chickenfeet2003 - Mar. 13th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sioneva - Mar. 14th, 2007 11:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - agincourtgirl - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
The cost of the work permit you're applying for will increase on April 1st from the equivalent of £85 to £200. If you're applying on the grounds of being engaged, then I think that's the settlement visa, whose price will be increasing from £260 to £500 for applicants applying from outside of the UK. That's the first thing.

If you live in the UK on a work visa, regardless of being married, then work visa charges and renewals are all you need to worry about.

If you get married and want to switch visa status on those grounds, there are two possibilities.

1. If you get married and want to change visa status very shortly after moving over, you may have to apply for "limited leave to remain", a two year residency visa. I don't know if this is true or not for you if you arrive on a work visa. It probably isn't relevant, but I simply don't know.

2. The other option is to apply for indefinite leave to remain. This is a visa which lets you live in the UK with no limitations on when you have to leave. Its expiration date is tied to that of your passport. I don't know when you'd become eligible for it - certainly within two years of moving here, I would think, if not sooner. If your work visa lasts at least five years, you may not want to bother with ILR.

ILR is NOT the same thing as citizenship. It's the equivalent of Canadian "landed immigrant" status. It means you can live and work here or study or be unemployed and not be constantly renewing visas. It also means if you ever lost your job here, you wouldn't be thrown out.

Thus you might need to eventually take the "Life in the UK" exam, should you ever decide to apply for the ILR visa.

Note: if your passport expires in the next 2 or 3 years, you may wish to get it renewed now to avoid extra visa transfer applications, again, depending on the length of the visa you're applying for.
(no subject) - agincourtgirl - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Mar. 13th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teaparty.net - Mar. 13th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - owlfish - Mar. 13th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
I NEED HELP!! - (Anonymous) - Mar. 19th, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
a_d_medievalist
Mar. 14th, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
This might be a dumb question, but none of this should affect my coming for three or four weeks this summer to work/visit friends, should it?
owlfish
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
I don't think it should. The recent rise of airport taxes will hit you though. It's now something like £80 or 90 for long haul flights.
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )