Government U-Turn on 500% increase in Fees
Deep breath – this does not happen often. We are delighted to announce that the Government has reversed its 500% increase in fees which came into effect in October 2016.
Fees will instead be charged at the pre-October rates and anyone who has paid higher fees will be refunded.
The Friday afternoon announcement was made by Sir Oliver Heald, Minister of State for courts and Justice:
“We have listened to the representations that we received on the current fee levels and have decided to take stock and review the Immigration and Asylum fees, to balance the interests of all tribunal users and the taxpayer and to look at them again alongside other tribunal fees and in the wider context of funding for the system overall.
From today all applicants will be charged fees at previous levels and we will reimburse, in all cases where the new fees have been paid, the difference between that fee and the previous fee.
We will bring forward secondary legislation to formalise the position as soon as possible. That legislation will come into force shortly, but in the meantime the changes will be effected through the use of the Lord Chancellor’s discretionary power to remit or reduce fees.”
The statement also confirms that the increase to the Upper Tribunal fees, which has not yet been implemented, will also be reviewed following further consultation. The broader fee exemptions which were introduced at the same time as the higher fees will remain in place.
Welcome relief for EU migrants
The group most likely to be affected by the sharp increase in fees were EU nationals who are desperately trying to attain their permanent residence Cards (PRC) and British Citizenship following the EU Referendum result in June 2016. As a firm, we are now dealing with many PRC applications which will need to be appealed because they were incorrectly submitted in the first instance. This news will be welcomed by many EU national families, especially the newly coined JAMs (Just About Managing).
We will provide an update regarding the Upper Tribunal fees as soon as it becomes available.
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