Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023 Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Home Office
The fee and visa increases implemented as a result of these regulations have caused considerable concern. Do we really want to push people who are trying to make a life for themselves in our country into undocumented penury and ill health, and make it even harder for children to make good their citizenship rights? I beg to move.
Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
- Hansard - -

I will briefly underline some of the concerns expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, and also, once again, point to the technical anomalies in the laying of this instrument, which we should not ride roughshod over. These unprecedented increases in fees introduced on 4 October put, for example, fees for a skilled worker’s three-year permit 540% above other leading science nations. This has enormous economic implications for any would-be immigrant skilled worker, as well as for employers. It seems to me that at the very least the Home Office must introduce policies to minimise the regulatory and economic burdens on businesses, especially SMEs. We all recognise that this is a difficult area, but, if we are to increase UK productivity, we need more skilled workers, who are currently threatened with impoverishment or indeed so demotivated that they do not attempt to come to this country at all.

As, again, the noble Baroness has said, the real hardship and heartache disproportionately affect children. Quite simply, the new fees now demanded for children to have indefinite leave to remain have become extortionate. The fee waivers scheme for parents is so impenetrable and expensive that we risk exposing a whole generation of entirely blameless and extremely vulnerable children to an insecure and uncertain future. Is this really what the Government want to do?

Lord Moylan Portrait Lord Moylan (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I rise briefly to speak in support of at least one of the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Lister of Burtersett. It is a point I have made before.

Nobody is entitled under any form of international law to succeed in an application for naturalisation as a British subject. In fact, we as a country are not obliged to grant naturalisation, but Parliament chooses that we should do so. In doing so, it understandably sets conditions; these conditions might relate to good character, how long one has lived here and things like that. Of course, part of those conditions will include the setting of the fee that needs to be paid. There are other immigration processes that people who are not British subjects may wish to apply for, which again may rightly and properly involve a fee. Nobody disputes that; the noble Baroness does not dispute that as a matter of principle at all. There are practical considerations, some of which the noble Baroness has explored in quite considerable detail in her remarks, about what the effects of those fees might be, and the noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, raised the question of the effects, particularly in relation to people coming here with scientific qualifications and in the scope of education. All of those are matters which are very properly the subject of public policy.