On Tuesday 31 October, These Walls Must Fall campaigners in Manchester will be standing alongside campaigners from Migrant Voice and Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit in protest against the government’s recent massive increases to immigration visa fees.
We are meeting in St Peter’s Square at 1pm on Tuesday 31st October, and we invite you to join us!
What is happening?
The government has hugely increased immigration visa fees – visit visas are going up by 15%, family visas, settlement and citizenship by 20% and student visas by 35%. This means the process of applying for a visa has become unaffordable for many people. These increases will affect new arrivals to the UK, and those already in the UK – such as people on the 10 year route to settlement.
The Immigration Health Surcharge is also going to be increased early 2024 to a whopping £1,035 per person. The Immigration Health Surcharge is already a form of double taxation on migrants, who pay for the NHS through their taxes.
What will the impact of these visa fee increases be?
It is hard to overstate the possible impact of these visa fee increases. These increases will disproportionately affect families, where many people have insecure status, and many are already struggling in a cost of living crisis. We have heard of cases in which families have to choose which visa to renew because they can’t afford all of them.
To take just one example, people on the arduously long 10 year route to settlement will go from paying £2,608 every 2.5 years to over £3,800 per person every 2.5 years over a 10 year period. That’s a total of over £18,000 per person for settlement in the UK.
There is no doubt that these latest increases will place many people at risk of losing their immigration status and becoming undocumented.
This will lead to an increase in vulnerability to forms of work exploitation: as visa fees go up, so does the risk of workers paying high recruitment fees, entering into repayment clauses, and suffering from debt bondage.
We must name this policy for what it is: an injustice and a way to exploit migrants for profit. The UK already has some of the highest visa fees in the world and makes huge profits on immigration visa fees.
What can you do about it?
Take part in the National Day of Action on the 31st October against these visa fee increases!
This day is a platform for individuals and organisations across the UK to join together in solidarity to oppose the government’s punitive policy changes.
If you are in Manchester, stand with us against these changes and call on the government to take action on visas. Get in touch with us if you’d like more details about the demonstration.
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