My honourable friend the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality at the Home Department (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Today the Government publish a consultation paper on a new charging regime for immigration and nationality fees, meeting our commitments to consult on charging for the new points-based system and significant changes to visa fees, and to support the boost to our border security and enforcement capability set out in the IND review last July.
Migration and tourism benefit Britain greatly. But to continue to welcome legitimate migrants, we need an immigration system that is fair and effective. The integrity of the immigration system depends on robust borders, with effective security overseas and in the UK ensuring and enforcing compliance with our immigration laws. As the Home Office implements the measures outlined in the IND review, and improved controls and measures are introduced overseas and in-country by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office jointly, we need to consider how immigration and nationality services are paid for and whether our charging strategy should better reflect the end-to-end cost of the whole immigration system. We want improved enforcement of a fair and effective immigration system. We believe that it is right that a greater contribution towards the costs of maintaining such a system should fall to those for whom immigration to our country brings benefits and rewards.
The Government are committed to boosting Britain's economy by bringing the right skills from around the world and ensuring that it is easy to visit legally. We want to continue to welcome the holidaymakers, visitors, business people and students who come here, recognizing the valuable contribution they make to economic growth and the way that they enrich our society through cultural exchange.
The consultation paper sets out some options on how we charge for our immigration and nationality services. We want a genuine debate on the most appropriate way to charge and hope that key stakeholders and members of the public engage with this consultation process. We will be holding a number of stakeholder events throughout the consultation period in order to get the views and ideas of as many people as possible.
Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Libraries of the House and may also be downloaded from www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk, www.ukvisas.gov.uk or www.fco.gov.uk.