THE UK Government is making it more expensive for people applying for UK visas – including a charge of more than £5 to contact the department by email.
According to the Home Office, which also announced the outsourcing of its customer inquiries services, it would help reduce costs.
From the 1 June, all customer enquiries will be handled by outsourcing specialist Site UK, in an effort to reduce costs “and ensure those who benefit directly from the UK immigration system make an appropriate contribution.”
Does this take the form of a higher cost on the visa, you ask? Perhaps an adjustment to the existing sliding fee, based on time to be spent in the UK? No: instead, all enquiries from outside the country will be subject to a charge – including those made via email.
Under the new system, simply contacting UK Immigration by email will cost the questioner £5.48. To be ‘fair’, the charge covers both the first and all follow-up emails – at least, those relating to the same subject.
A source with knowledge of the plans told Business Insider that the new measures are being implemented to reduce the financial burden on government as current arrangements cost a significant amount to run.
Contacting UKVI from outside the UK by email is currently free, while there is a charge for contacting the service via telephone.
There are no plans to introduce charges for people contacting UKVI from within the UK.
The Home Office also says that the number of languages available for potential applicants will be reduced to eight, including English. Guidance is currently available in 20 languages.
A source said that the language services which will no longer be offered amount to only 4% of the total calls and e-mails UKVI receives each year.