migrantvoice
Speaking for Ourselves

Join the campaign against extortionate visa fees

Join the campaign against extortionate visa fees

MV

 Migrant Voice - Join the campaign against extortionate visa fees

Migrant Voice is leading a campaign against extortionate immigration fees, which are having a devastating impact on many of our migrant members and their families. 

Most visa fees have risen exponentially in the last decade, while the NHS surcharge and the extortionate cost of appointments and other associated costs add hundreds of pounds to each application. For example, a family of four on the 10 year route to settlement can expect to pay in excess of £40,000.  Our campaign wants to change this. We want to see all fees reduced to admin costs for adults and free for children. 

Over the last months we have been listening to affected migrants and their families and gathering information from other organisations working on related issues to help shape our campaign. Through focus groups, a survey, and ongoing meetings we are developing the campaign’s strategy and plan, its priority areas, activities and recommendations. We continue to gather evidence of the impact extortionate visa fees are having and how this has been exacerbated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stephanie, 48, from Nigeria is one of those who wants the campaign to succeed. She is working as a healthcare assistant and has two children. She estimates she has spent close to £15,000 in visa fees to date. Her visa must be renewed every 2.5 years and at each visa renewal she must pay around £2,500 in fees, plus the £1,560 NHS surcharge.

It doesn’t have to be this way. A decade ago, fees in this country were more affordable. We believe it’s wrong for the government to continue to make a profit from migrants paying to stay in the UK, with some fees charged up to ten times the actual cost.

The costs are so high that they have a direct impact on Stephanie’s family finances. “When it is time for you to renew you are looking everywhere for money,”  she says. “You have no money to save, for school, rent, car insurance. My son is finishing college and I want him to go into further education but that is hard, financially.” Because her visa is still temporary, she has No Recourse to Public Funds.

The costs to migrants aren't just financial - many families suffer mental and physical health problems, with some families sacrificing food, heating and electricity to make sure they can make their payments to the Home Office when the time comes.

Stephanie works as much as she can to make ends meet, often giving up family time or sick leave. Still, she sometimes must borrow money from other people. “I work six days a week in order for me to pay for everything and it’s still not enough, I still have debt … I don’t have time with my kids because I have to work so much. There is no time to sit down with family or take them out.”

She says that her life is reduced to working in order to pay for her visa. “I don’t feel heard by the government; they don’t know what I am going through. We are human too. I want to be heard.”

Migrant Voice are currently running a survey online to collect information and experiences from people like Stephanie on their interaction with the UK Visas and immigration system and the impact it has had on them and their families. We would be grateful for anyone affected who could complete this survey, it should only take 15 minutes. Please also share it amongst your own networks to make sure we hear from those affected:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/MV_Visa_Fees_Survey

Migrant Voice are also conducting interviews with migrants and their families who have been affected by the extortionate cost of Visas in the UK. If anyone would like to participate in these interviews, or would like to know more about the campaign please contact our Campaigns Organiser Cameron Ball: [email protected]

Please join us in raising awareness of these issues. You can get involved by sharing your experiences; taking part in shaping the campaign; attending our network meetings, training, and lobby activities; sharing the link to our survey and spreading awareness of our campaign with people who are affected; and by collaborating with us on this and other inter-related issues.

Migrant Voice is a migrant-led organisation working with migrants from all around the world with all kinds of status. We develop the media skills and confidence of migrants with the aim of strengthening their voices in the media and civil society in order to counter xenophobia and build support for our rights. We have offices and networks in London, the West Midlands and Glasgow.

 

Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
London
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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