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The UK Border Agency will increase charges for visa applications by up to 50% on April 6, amid widespread criticism of services.

Fees are increasing by around 2% across the board but some exceptions, including The Tier 1 (General) Extension fee will increase from £1000 to a hefty £1500 for a 'points based system' or PBS postal application visa for for highly skilled people without a job offer.

Finance and immigration specialists 1st Contact services reported that the strategy is "in line with the UKBA’s strategy of reducing the cost of its services to taxpayers. See the full table of fees here.

Former Immigration Minister Damian Green defended the increases, saying "Given the ongoing need to reduce public spending, we believe it is right that we continue to seek to reduce the burden on UK taxpayers of delivering the border and immigration system by asking migrants to make a greater contribution to the funding of the UK Border Agency," said Conservative Party MP, who has since switched jobs to become Minister of State for the Home Office & the Ministry of Justice.

The current minister for immigration Gavin Barwell recently criticised UKBA for their overly tough rulings, saying "It's no good the Prime Minister committing so much of his time...telling the world we are open for business if every time we talk about immigration domestically it is always in terms of it being a problem."

A BBC investigation recently revealed that unofficial agents were booking and selling on UKBA appointments amid the chaos of delayed appointments and confiscated passports for visitors from overseas.

TNT have launched a campaign calling for improvements to the UK Border Agency. Find out more here.


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UKBA reveals new visa pricing increases
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