`UKBA should provide consistent service to justify the charges’

Proposals on fees to be laid before Parliament in first quarter of 2010

15th January 2010
: Public consultation for views on proposals for earned citizenship fees has revealed that an overwhelming majority of respondents (over 90 per cent) agreed that the UK Border Agency should continue to set fees flexibly by taking into account wider policy objectives.

These include attracting specific groups of migrants that are beneficial to the UK. The Border Agency says some of the themes, emerging repeatedly across many of the areas covered in the consultation, focused on general principles that respondents felt should be central to UK Border Agency’s approach to charging for immigration and visa services.

UKBA should provide a consistent and good quality level of service in order to justify the charges set, for example as stated by CBI: “The services mentioned in the consultation document represent welcome innovation on the part of UKBA, but it is clear that they must offer genuine improvements in service if they are to be widely used by the business community.”

The proposals on earned citizenship fees are expected to be laid before Parliament during the first quarter of 2010.

In July 2011, the UK Border Agency is all set to introduce earned citizenship. In order to implement the fees for this new scheme, the Agency ran a public consultation seeking your views on proposals for earned citizenship fees.

The consultation ran for 12 weeks, from 9 September 2009 to 1 December 2009. In all, the agency received a total of 98 replies. The Agency has now published its formal response to its 2009 public consultation on the fees it charges for immigration and visa applications.

The Agency says: `We have listened to the respondents’ views, which showed broad support for the headline measures but concerns about some of the supporting proposals….

`Our fees proposals are currently being developed and are due to be laid before Parliament during the first quarter of 2010’.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas adds: `We welcome dialogue with those who use the immigration system and remain committed to maintaining existing channels of communications, particularly with representative groups and taskforces.

`We have listened to the views of those who responded to the consultation. There was broad support for the headline measures, but concerns were expressed on some of the supporting proposals.…

`We want to make sure that the charging system as a whole contributes towards the costs of running that system, and we intend to keep the system under review, especially given the current pressures on public finances….

`We recognise the importance of maintaining public confidence in the system, in order that legal migrants are welcomed and able to make a valuable contribution to boosting Britain’s economy and enriching the cultural and academic life of the UK. Through the improvements we have already implemented we are confident that we will deliver’.

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