Immigration and Nationality Fees Regulations 2010
The use of fees in more recent times as a secondary (invisible) form of immigration control is something that JCWI is extremely concerned by. It undermines the principle of the rule of law because despite meeting the legal criteria for entry and residence, migrants are refused/prevented from applying for entry and stay (and the rights that come with them) on account of these administrative practices. It can also be a problem from the point of view of meeting the UK’s commitments to fostering international development, and from the point of view of promoting equality - disparities in average incomes often mean that women, and certain ethnic groups are particularly hard hit by high fees.
The Immigration and Nationality Fees Regulations 2010 replicate existing problems because they limit the circumstances in which fees may be waived.This causes particular problems for destitute irregular migrants who seek to regularise their stay in the UK on the basis that they have established a private and family life here (under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) as they are required to pay fees before their human rights applications can be considered. There is no power in law to waive this requirement in these circumstances either in the existing regulations or the new regulations. Given the numbers of irregular migrants in the UK who could be caught by this provision with the effect that they are unable to regularise their stay, and in the light of the implications that this has for other migrants we highlighted these issues for Parliament and argued that that there should be a general power to waive these fees (as is the case with entry clearance applications) and that in their present format these regulations are incompatible with the Human Rights Act.
In addition to the above, the fees regulations propose very significant hikes in the fees for dependent elderly relatives, and the introduction of fees for dependants. Again, as there is no power to waive these fees for in country applications, we argued that concessions ought to be made that take account of this.
The Regulations come into effect on 6 April 2010. JCWI lobbied against these Regulations. Our briefings and links to the debates appear below.
The Regulations can be found here: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2010/draft/ukdsi_9780111491096_en_1
Read the debate in the House of Lords here:http://www.theyworkforyou.com/lords/?id=2010-03-04a.1641.2&s=speaker%3A12876#g1653.0
Read the 2nd pro bono legal opinion for JCWI by Tim Buley, Landmark Chambers - House of Lords (PDF)
Read the transcript of the debate in Committee in the House of Commons http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmgeneral/deleg7/100224/100224s01.htm#end
Read JCWI's briefing for the House of Lords and the House of Commons PDF
Read JCWI's case studies document about the problems with these Fees Regulations(PDF)
Read the first pro bono legal opinion for JCWI by Tim Buley, Landmark Chambers for the House of Commons and the House of Lords (PDF)