Immigration fees to increase further still
The Autumn 2015 Spending Review reveals that the immigration system will need to raise considerable additional funds in order to become “fully self funded”. Paragraph 2.7 says that the Home Office settlement includes:
resource savings of 5% by 2019-20 through a fully self-funded borders and immigration system and total reductions of 30% in the department’s administration budget compared to 2015-16
Paragraph 2.14 goes into more detail:
Around £600 million of overall border, immigration and citizenship system costs are currently funded by the Exchequer (in addition to customs and asylum support costs). By investing in streamlined and automated processes, saving time for immigration officials
and border officers, this funding requirement will be more than halved. For example, the government will invest over £250 million to enable passports and visas to be processed online. The remainder will be funded through targeted visa fee increases, which will remove the burden on the UK taxpayer while ensuring the UK remains a competitive place for work, travel and study internationally. At the same time, new investments such as £130 million more for automated passport E-gates, watch-list and intelligence technology, will tighten security while keeping queuing times to a minimum.
£600 million of new fee increases sounds like a lot, and even more will be needed unless “investing in streamlined and automated processes” does actually save time and money, which with the Home Office’s record for procurement is perhaps a tad optimistic.
Hat tip to the eagle eyed Jonathan Kingham of Lexis Nexis: