Immigrants in the UK forced pay excessive fees for Home Office services: HSMP

`Foreigners given “unethical" treatment, as Home Office adopts a profit-centric approach’

Tags: Immigrants, Amit Kapadia, dual taxation

29th September 2009: Immigrants in Britain are being discriminated against — at least this is what Highly Skilled Migrants Programme Forum (HSMP) has to say.
Representing the immigrants in the UK, the forum has claimed the foreigners are being given “unethical" treatment, as the authorities concerned in the UK are forcing the migrants to pay excessive fees for the Home Office services.
HSMP forum’s executive director Amit Kapadia says it is unethical for a government agency to behave like a profit-making organisation.
The assertion is followed by a demand for a level playing field for the foreigners. The forum has asserted the immigrants in the UK demand fair treatment from the Home Office. Since 2006, the immigrants have been forced to pay for overall immigration services in the form of dual taxation, rather than just paying for their application processing fee.
Expressing concern "over the unfair treatment", Kapadia and the Association of Immigrants says the Home Office is presently conducting a charging consultation to further increase the existing "unwarranted high fees".
Elaborating, the forum says even now the fees charged for issuing entry clearance, visa extension, and settlement, have increased by more than 100 per cent since April 2007.
Kapadia adds the immigrants are already contributing to the UK economy by paying their taxes. It is unjust to expect them to pay more than their share of the burden by paying for the government or the Home Office’s other services.
He adds the excess application fees charged to the immigrants and their families can be anywhere between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of their monthly salaries. As such, it is adversely affecting their finances.
Kapadia says the document ‘Charging for immigration and visa applications – Impact assessment’ itself suggests the government’s policy objective is to charge fees to recover about 30 per cent of UK Border Agency’s overall costs.
The key costs and benefits estimates given in the impact assessment suggest the expected income to be raised from applicants’ fees would be 48 million pounds by 2010-11 and 113 million pounds per year thereafter, while the actual processing cost is estimated to be 16 million pounds in 2010-11 and 38 million pounds per year thereafter.  This clearly suggests a profit-centric approach, Kapadia concludes.

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