Big increases proposed to immigration appeal fees


Immigrants will face sharp increases in the cost of appealing against Home Office decisions under Government proposals.

Ministers set out the proposals for raising fees after revealing that only 9% of the annual cost of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) was recouped from those bringing cases in 2014/15.

The First-tier and Upper tribunals examine cases brought against decisions made by the Home Office relating to permission to stay in the UK, deportation and clearance to enter the country. 

A consultation paper just launched proposes new fees for proceedings in both.

In the First-tier Tribunal they would rise from £80 to £490 for an application for a decision based on legal papers and from £140 to £800 for an application for an oral hearing.

A new fee of £455 for an application for permission to appeal to the upper tribunal would be introduced.

The consultation also proposes a £510 charge for an appeal hearing in the higher chamber if permission is granted.

The government had previously consulted on plans to raise fees for proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal in order to recover around a quarter of the £84 million annual cost of the chamber.

Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: "Having re-assessed the Ministry of Justice's financial position following the Spending Review, we need to go much further.

"In light of the challenging financial circumstances we face we have already had to take difficult decisions. We have implemented enhanced court fees, above the cost of the proceedings to which they relate, for money claims; possession claims; general applications within civil proceedings; and divorce petitions.

"In these financial circumstances, we have concluded that it is no longer reasonable to expect the taxpayer to fund around 75% of the costs of immigration and asylum proceedings."

He said the government is "mindful" of the fact that some applicants will face difficulties paying the fees, so those in "particularly vulnerable positions" will continue to be exempt from them.

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

Mr Raab added: "Higher fees are never popular but they are necessary if we are, as a nation, to live within our means.

"These proposals would raise around an additional £37 million a year, which is a critical contribution to cutting the deficit and reducing the burden on the taxpayer of running the courts and tribunals."