Business visa fees fear

Posted on 30 Jan 2008 by The Manufacturer

Smaller firms will be hardest hit by visa fees rise, says the CBI

Reacting to the government’s announcement today of fees it will charge business for visas under the new Points Based migration system (PBS), the CBI’s deputy director-general, John Cridland, said: “Businesses are going to face a considerable increase in visa fees this year, and some smaller firms could see them go up by as much as 580%1. Whether an employer needs just one skilled migrant or fifty, they must pay a new flat registration fee. This only becomes cost effective the more people you hire, so smaller firms will take more of a hit.

“Business accepted last year’s rise of 135% in skilled work permit fees on the basis it would fund improvements to the immigration system. There’s been little progress in developing better employer support, but the government has still imposed further cost increases at a time when it is also expecting employers to perform more rigorous checks on their employees as part of the system.

“By seeking to recover far more than the cost of processing the application, the government risks putting up a barrier to firms hiring people with the skills they need to grow and create jobs for the good of the whole economy.

“The CBI has supported the Points-Based System as a flexible way of managing migration. But it will need to be fair and seen to work in practice. Cost is one concern, as is ensuring the new register of sponsors is user friendly and that companies can more easily transfer existing staff from abroad on a short-term basis.”