Immigration fees to soar despite overwhelming opposition

Article by Ramzan Sharif, Solicitor at Fountain Solicitors

Overwhelming opposition to a hike in fees for immigration cases has been ignored, with the government announcing that it will go ahead with its proposed package of hefty increases.

A response paper published by the Ministry of Justice states that only five out of 142 respondents agreed with plans to increase fees in the first-tier tribunal.

Fees in the first-tier tribunal will rise six-fold, from £80 to £490 for an application for a decision on the papers, and from £140 to £800 for an application for an oral hearing.

A new fee of £455 will be introduced for an application to the first-tier tribunal for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal.

In the upper tribunal, an application for permission to appeal, where permission had been refused by the first-tier tribunal, will cost £350, while a £510 fee will be imposed for an appeal hearing where permission is granted.

The large fee increases would deny access to justice for vulnerable people wishing to challenge a Home Office decision.

Some were particularly concerned about the impact on those challenging asylum decisions, stating that they were a particularly vulnerable group.

The Law Society has urged MPs parliament to throw out the rises.

Rather than introducing measures that will ‘hit the vulnerable the hardest’, it said the MoJ should consider seeking to balance its books by using the profits of up to 440% from visa applications.

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