50,000 signatures reached
To: Priti Patel and the Home Office
Scrap UK visa fees for children and in human rights cases
We want the Government to scrap visa fees in all human rights cases and for nationality applications for children.
Why is this important?
People who cannot return to their home country because it would breach their human rights shouldn’t be charged fees for their visa applications to remain in the UK.
Currently the government charges extortionate amounts from people with human rights applications. These include people
• whose human rights to family and private life in the UK would be violated if they were removed or not allowed to enter,
• who cannot return home because there would be unjustifiably harsh consequences or very significant obstacles to their integration if they were removed to their country of origin,
• who cannot be removed because of their ill-health
The fees the Home Office charges for visa applications are extremely high. An application on human rights grounds costs £1,033 and has to be renewed 3 times before someone can apply for indefinite leave to remain at an even higher fee of £2,389. This means a total payment of £6,521 over 10 years. Dependants are charged the same fees: a mother with two children would have to nearly £20,000 in fees over 10 years! These sums are entirely out of the reach for Myrtle and Stephanie who cannot return and were granted leave to remain on human rights grounds:
Frail 94 year old South African Myrtle Cothill visited her only daughter Mary, aged 68, in the UK in 2014. Whilst in the UK, Myrtle’s health deteriorated and her family were told that if she left she would be at greater risk of death within months of her return to South Africa. After a huge public outcry Myrtle was granted leave on human rights grounds in 2016. But she is left to pay the fees to extend her visa every 2.5 years. It’s a huge financial burden as Myrtle obviously cannot work, her 68-year-old daughter Mary lives on a small pension, and Mary’s 62-year-old husband David (who suffers from Parkinson’s) battles on working part-time as a cashier in a supermarket.
Both Stephanie*, a South African national & her British mother Louise* were subjected to domestic violence & cruelty at the hands of Stephanie’s father in South Africa. They fled to the UK in 2010. After a lengthy legal battle, Stephanie was finally allowed to stay on human rights grounds. A medical condition means Stephanie is unable to work and Louise supports both of them working as a care assistant. Every 2.5 years Louise has to pay huge home office fees to keep Stephanie in the UK, and it’s a real struggle on her salary.
Many of those applying for further leave to remain will have paid taxes for years without having access to many public services. Charging people on top of this for wanting and needing to remain in the UK is unjust and inhumane.
Sajid Javid and the Home Office should scrap the visa application fees in all human rights cases (including family reunion cases, applications by children, adult dependent relatives and partners), scrap nationality application fees for children and charge a maximum of what it costs them to process immigration applications (the ‘unit cost’) for all other applications.
*Names changed due to safety concerns and legal reasons