Woolas defends visa service at doorstep

`Those benefiting from the system should fund it’

25th January 2010: Even as the UK Border Agency’s move to provide visa at the door step to wealthy immigrants has come under disapproval of sorts, Border and immigration minister Phil Woolas has defended the move.

The critics argue the personal visa delivery scheme will help the wealthy immigrants jump the queue. But Woolas says it is only fair that those benefiting from using the immigration system should help fund it.

He has added the fees help fund the 25,000 staff, which works in local communities, at the border and in 135 countries around the world. “They represent good value for money and are comparative to similar western countries,” he said

The move is part of enhanced visa fees. The basic cost of a visa for migrants applying to settle in Britain is all set to rise from £585 to £644. Those in Britain will pay £840 from £830 for indefinite leave to remain. The fee for applying to become a British citizen will increase from £640 to £655.

The Agency, less than a week back, had announced the piloting of a new fast-track pilot scheme for skilled migrants wishing to renew their visas, but not too eager to visit the immigration office.

It was asserted that for a large fee, an immigration officer would come to their home, process their visa and collect the biometric data required for a foreign national ID card.
The move was primarily aimed at foreign football stars playing in the UK, and millionaire businessmen. The personal visa service is expected to cost them £15,000 a time.

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