For those planning to move or relocate to the UK, a wave of new fees have been introduced for the coming four years. The charges, which came into effect late last month, have been raised by 2 per cent for visas most closely linked to economic growth, such as those offered to workers and students. A 2 per cent increase will also apply to all visit visas, which the Home Office says will “help maintain the UK’s position as one of the world’s top tourist destinations”.
Those hoping to stay longer will see the highest increase in costs: an increase of up to 25 per cent applies to settlement, residence and nationality fees, as these routes deliver the most benefits to successful applicants, while an increase of up to 33 per cent has been introduced for optional premium services offered by the Home Office, such as priority visa services overseas.
Fees for all sponsorship categories have not changed.
“These changes ensure that the Home Office can achieve a self-funding system, whilst continuing to provide a competitive level of service, and a fees structure that remains attractive to businesses, migrants and visitors,” commented a spokesperson for the Home Office.
As an indication of how much the UK’s international relations are expanding, the UK government also extended its 24-hour Super Priority Visa Service to Astana in Kazakhstan.
The new service, which costs £750 in addition to the visa and User Pays fee, is aimed at those who want extra speed and flexibility. It is completely optional. The service can be used to apply for long term, multi-entry visas, valid for up to ten years, and also for long term study and work visas.
“As part of our long-term economic plan, we are determined to do everything we can to back business, support investment and create jobs. The new 24 hour visa service will persuade more business travellers, investors and tourists to visit Britain, to trade with Britain and to expand in Britain,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.
Last year, over 15 thousand UK visas were issued for Kazakhstani citizens.
Dr Carolyn Browne, UK Ambassador to Kazakhstan, welcomed the new service and predicted it would boost the number of Kazakhstani’s choosing to visit the UK.