The move comes as a bitter blow following last week’s Westminster debate in which MPs discussed proposals to make it easier for Antipodeans to live and work in the UK.
Six-month entry visas to the UK will rise modestly from £83 to £85 for 2015/16, but the cost of 6-12 month visa will shoot up from £150 to £162. The cost of a two-year visitor’s visa goes up from £300 to £324 and a five-year visa rockets from £544 to £588.
There’s bad news too for visitors who want to work in the UK, with the cost of a tier 5 visa – available to 18-30-year-olds who wish to work and holiday for up to two years – also rising by 8 per cent from £208 to £225.
To add insult to injury, the hikes have been announced in the wake of a UK inflation rate of just 0.5 per cent in 2014 – the lowest level since records began.
Only last week MPs debated the report ‘How to Solve a Problem Like a Visa’ – which shows how thousands of Australians and New Zealanders are forced to leave the UK or are prevented from entering. Some of the government’s own MPs said it was wrong that citizens from Commonwealth country should not benefit from the same ‘privileges’ as those automatically enjoyed by EU citizens.
TNT Magazine and London mayor Boris Johnson are among those who have supported the report’s recommendation of a ‘bilateral mobility agreement’. Under such an arrangement any New Zealander or Australian who wanted to travel to, live in or work in the UK would get a free visa. The same would apply to any British citizen wishing to work in Australia.
For full details of new visa prices click here