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UK announces hike in immigration fee

The hike is to fund sweeping changes it plans to introduce to improve border security in the months to come.

world Updated: Feb 01, 2008 11:21 IST

Britain has announced a hike in its immigration fees to fund sweeping changes it plans to introduce to improve border security over the next 12 months.

The proposal introduced in the House of Commons on Thursday comes just weeks before the introduction of a new points based system for managing migration.

The system is aimed at ensuring that only workers with skills to benefit Britain's economy come to the UK and puts in place a licensing system for businesses who want to recruit from overseas.

The fee for Britain's economy (General) Programme, which is popular among Indians, will go up from 400 pounds to 600 pounds.

The fee for Work Permit visa and Visitor visa (Long term) will be increased from 200 pounds to 205 pounds, while the Settlement visa will go up from 500 pounds to 515 pounds.

The Visitor visa will go up from 63 pounds to 65 pounds. Expressing confidence that the aspiring immigrants will not be deterred by the hike, Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: "We believe that it is fair that those who benefit most from using our immigration system should help fund it."

"We welcome the contribution that legal migrants make to the economy and cultural life in the UK and we have ensured that these fees, which will usher in the biggest reforms to the immigration system in a generation, are at levels that will not damage our international competitiveness," Byrne said.

"We are confident that we are not out of line with other countries' prices and that the people we want to come here will not be deterred from doing so," the minister said.