Immigration News Weekly Roundup – 22 September 2023

UK immigration application fees are rising significantly starting October 4th – the biggest increase in recent years. Applicants should submit them sooner if possible to avoid higher costs.

Work visa applications from outside the UK will rise 15% across the board, with in-country applications rising 5-15%. Sponsor licence fees remain the same, but Certificate of Sponsorship fees will increase 19-20%. Employers covering costs will see continued rises – a 3-year Skilled Worker visa rises from £625 to £719 out of country, and £719 to £827 in-country.

The Immigration Health Surcharge is set to increase from £624 to £1035 per year, pending parliamentary approval. The Electronic Travel Authorisation fee of £10 starts October 25th, 2023, when applications open.

The significant fee increases starting October 4th place immense pressure on immigration advisors and applicants to act quickly and efficiently to submit applications before the deadline. Meeting the pre-October 4th timeframe will allow them to avoid the higher financial costs and save money where appropriate. Rushing to beat the deadline will be crucial for many applicants to prevent their immigration applications from becoming even more expensive.

In summary, applicants face steep fee hikes starting in October, especially work visas and health surcharges. Employers will also bear higher visa sponsorship costs. Submitting sooner than October 4th avoids the significant increases, so act quickly if possible.

A series of troubling reports have come to light this week, shining a harsh light on disturbing problems plaguing the UK immigration system.

First, the long-awaited Brook House Inquiry report revealed a toxic culture of abuse at the Gatwick immigration detention centre. Undercover footage from 2017 exposed violence towards detainees, with the inquiry now confirming 19 potential cases of torture or inhumane treatment. The report demands major reforms like limits on detention duration. This raises serious concerns about the Home Office’s plans to vastly expand immigration detention capacity. Implementing such proposals risks enabling systemic abuse without proper oversight.

In other news, the Home Office’s 2022 annual report revealed ballooning, unexpected costs driven by failures managing asylum claims efficiently. Mismanagement forced over £3 billion in unplanned spending, including £1.6 billion addressing the backlog and £0.7 billion on abandoned policy reforms. These highlights deep flaws in the asylum system. Meanwhile, prosecutions of modern slavery perpetrators dropped compared to 2021, suggesting growing barriers to justice for victims.

Additionally, an inspection found Border Force suffers from unclear oversight and poor data sharing in monitoring insider threats. Dissatisfied staff compounds risks of misconduct and abuse of privileged access. Conflicting priorities between law enforcement and civil service rules hamper reforms. Clear governance and data access are urgently needed.

Finally, a joint report summarized the total collapse of immigration and asylum legal aid in England and Wales. The demand for legal help vastly outweighs capacity as providers abandon unsustainable legal aid work. Unable to access advice, migrants and asylum seekers are left adrift without support in desperate situations. Immediate action must address legal aid funding and boost access to representation.

This week’s revelations paint a dire picture of systemic crises across UK immigration. As groundbreaking reports surface, pressure mounts for major reforms and accountability to uphold basic rights. The way forward demands transparent review of failures, expanded capacity, and long-term solutions focused on fairness, efficiency, and humane treatment.

This past week has been challenging for immigration advisors with new fee hikes and concerning report findings. Now more than ever it is crucial to stay current amid the fast-paced, constantly shifting UK immigration landscape.

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This and more are covered in our Immigration News Weekly Roundup. The full list of updates on media news, reported case law and Home Office Policy and other document updates below.



New visa fees set to come into effect next month – Home Office News

Increases to immigration and nationality fees to pay for vital services and allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises are set to come into effect on 4 October, following legislation being laid in Parliament on 15th September.

The changes mean that the cost for a visit visa for less than six months is rising by £15 to £115, while the fee for applying for a student visa from outside the UK will rise by £127 to £490, to equal the amount charged for in-country applications.

For full report, click here.  To download the new Fee structure, click here


Home Secretary pays tribute to the Windrush Working Group – Home Office News

Co-chairing the meeting with Bishop Derek Webley, the Home Secretary thanked the members for the important role they have played to ensure significant progress has been made following the Windrush Lessons Learned Review and the challenge they have provided to shape and improve the Home Office’s response, in the interests of the Windrush generation.

To read the full report, click here


Government enhances support for refugees to find jobs– Home Office News

Refugees, including people from Syria, Iran, Eritrea and Sudan, can now apply to a new government programme to gain the skills they need to enter the UK job market and lead independent lives.

The government’s new £52 million Refugee Employability Programme aims to overcome the barriers faced by refugees to integrate into local communities and society, including language and cultural differences, and speed up their contribution to the UK economy. Afghans resettled in England under either ACRS and ARAP will also be eligible to apply to the programme.

To read the full report, click here 


15,000 Afghans housed or matched to a property – Home Office News

The vast majority of families have moved into housing or been matched to a property, enabling them to rebuild their lives here.

All 55 hotels being used to house around 8,000 Afghans at the end of March were no longer being used as bridging accommodation by 31 August. This followed a significant cross-government effort to help families find homes, working closely with Local Authorities and third sector partners.

To read the full report, click here


Asylum seekers ‘degraded’ at detention centre: key points from Brook House inquiry –Analysis by Diane Taylor, The Guardian.

The Brook House public inquiry report has been described as a searing indictment of immigration detention, where migrants who are not being punished for a criminal offence are locked up indefinitely.

The report was commissioned because undercover footage obtained by the BBC’s Panorama team provided evidence of suffering by many detainees. The report includes moving pen portraits of some of those detained.

To read the full report analysis, click here


UK should only hold immigrants in detention centre’s for 28 days, inquiry says – Reuters

Britain should only hold people in immigration detention for a maximum of 28 days, a public inquiry concluded, after finding some detainees had been subjected to inhumane treatment, including the use of force or dangerous methods of restraint.

There is currently no limit on how long someone can be detained, though it will usually be unlawful to keep someone in detention if they cannot be removed within a reasonable time. However, some detainees at Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport in southeast England were held for up to two years, the inquiry heard.

For full report, click here


French couple jailed for smuggling children inside furniture – Home Office News 

A French couple has been jailed for almost 10 years after they trapped Vietnamese migrants, including children, inside sofas to smuggle them into the UK.

Junior Toussaint and Andrene Paul, both from near Paris, were sentenced to a combined 9 years and 11 months at Hove Crown Court today after pleading guilty to assisting unlawful migration to the UK. The pair had worked together as delivery drivers in France and used furniture to hide a Vietnamese woman and three children in the back of a hire van.

To read the full report, click here




BSG v R [2023] EWCA Crim 1041

The Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of a young Somali man who was a victim of human trafficking in the UK. New evidence showed he suffered ‘a clear injustice‘ after being exploited by a trafficking gang. A 2021 conclusive grounds decision deemed his trafficking claim credible.

The court ruled his testimony was desirable but unnecessary because: (1) no evidence contradicted the conclusive grounds decision, which was consistent with a later tribunal judgment, showing his credibility; and (2) medical evidence indicated testifying would risk his mental health. The court found the appellant had given a consistent, credible account already. His former lawyers failed to advise him on the modern slavery defence for children, which is less strict than for adults. Children must only show their crimes were a ‘direct consequence’ of being trafficked.

The court concluded he offended due to being exploited and threatened, so ‘a clear injustice has been done’. His account was credible and reasonable given the circumstances.

To download the full decision, click here




Brook House Inquiry – UKVI

The Brook House Inquiry, set up in November 2019, investigated the mistreatment of people who were detained at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre between 1 April and 31 August 2017.

To read the full report, click here


Immigration and nationality fees: equality impact assessment – UKVI

This equality impact assessment considers equalities impacts relating to increases to immigration and nationality fees that were laid in Parliament in September 2023. It has been produced in line with the Home Office’s ongoing duty under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

To read the full report, click here


An inspection of Border Force insider threat (January – March 2023) – UKVI

This inspection considered the insider threat posed by Border Force staff.  This inspection focused on the measures that exist to identify insider threat in Border Force and how the risk of insider threat to Border Force is mitigated and responded to.

To read the full report, click here


Access to immigration legal aid in 2023: An ocean of unmet need, report by Daniel Rourke, Ed Cripwell, Joseph Summers and Jo Hynes of Public Law Project, September 2023

A new report by the Public Law Project and Haringey Migrant Support Centre details the crisis in immigration and asylum legal aid in England and Wales. It summarizes organizations’ difficulties helping people access advice and providers’ inability to meet demand. Many have abandoned legal aid as unsustainable.

To read the full report, click here




  • Impact assessments covering migration policy has been updated on 20th September 2023. To view the updated report, click here


  • Guidance: Refugee Employability Programme has been updated on 20th September 2023. To view the updated Guidance, click here. To view the updated Policy Statement, click here


  • Transparency data: Migrants detected crossing the English Channel in small boats has been updated on 20th September 2023. To download the updated data, click here


  • Collection Home Office annual reports and accounts has been updated on 19th September 2023. To view the updated report, click here


  • Transparency data: Afghan Resettlement Programme has been updated on 19th September 2023. To download the updated report, click here


  • Home Office annual report and accounts: 2022 to 2023 has been published on 19th September 2023. To download the latest report, click here


  • Asylum accommodation factsheets has been updated on 14th September 2023. To download the latest report, click here


  • Policy paper: Statement of changes to the immigration rules HC 1496; 17 July 2023 has been updated on 14th September 2023. To download the latest report, click here


  • Guidance: Tuberculosis testing in Egypt has been published on 14th September 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Guidance notes for social services departments when applying for passports on behalf of ‘looked after children’ has been updated on 14th September 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Guidance Country Policy and Information Note – Bangladesh: Sexual orientation and gender identity and expression has been updated on 18th September 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


  • Guidance Country Policy and Information Notes: Democratic Republic of the Congo has been updated on 15th September 2023. To view the latest Guidance, click here


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