The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has published, in April 2019, the results of an inspection into the policies and practices of the Home Office’s Borders, Immigration and Citizenship System (pdf) relating to charging for immigration and nationality applications, claims, services and processes.
The inspection covered, among other things, the rationale for particular charges, amounts charged, and potential means of redress for individuals.
The inspection found that:
- the Home Office had made little effort to articulate in non-expert terms how its processes resulted in specific fee levels or annual increases
- impact assessments have not assessed the non-financial, non-economic impacts of the fees and proposed annual changes, for example how the wellbeing of vulnerable groups, families or children may be impacted, or the potential consequences for social integration
- though the Home Office wrote in 2014 that, where an application was incomplete, they would consider allowing ‘a reasonable length of time to correct mistakes’, there was little evidence of decisions being paused to allow applicants this opportunity.