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Immigration appeal fees set to rise by over 500%

The government has published a consultation paper proposing new fees for proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) on 21 April 2016. Asylum and immigration tribunal fees are set to increase by more than 500% in order to help pay off the Ministry of Justice’s funding deficit.

According to an MoJ consultation, the basic fees in the first tier asylum and immigration tribunals should be increased from £80 to £490 for an application for a decision just on the papers and from £140 to £800 for an application for an oral hearing. An extra £455 fee is likely to be introduced to cover applications for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal against First Tier Tribunal rulings.

The MoJ said it was “no longer reasonable to expect the taxpayer to fund around 75% of the costs of immigration and asylum proceedings”. “The courts and tribunals service cost £1.8bn in 2014-15, but only £700m was received in income. This leaves a net cost to the taxpayer of around £1.1bn in one year alone.”

“In light of the challenging financial circumstances we face we have already had to take difficult decisions … We are mindful of the fact that some applicants will face difficulties in paying these fees, so to make sure that the burden of funding the system is shared as fairly as possible we will continue to exempt from fees those in particularly vulnerable positions.”

The exemption is intended to include those who qualify for legal aid or asylum support, those who are appealing against a decision to deprive them of their citizenship and those children bringing appeals to the tribunal who are being supported by a local authority.

Children being housed by the local authority and the parents of children receiving local authority support will also be exempted.

The proposed steep rise in immigration appeal fees aimed at raising £37m a year is likely to serve as a deterrent to many, preventing those who have arrived in the UK with few resources from challenging decisions to remove them.



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