British Citizenship Fees: Children

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th July 2018.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 12:00 am, 16th July 2018

What assessment he has made of trends in the level of fees his Department charges for registering children as British citizens.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office sets fees for border, immigration and nationality services at a level that ensures that they make a substantial contribution to the cost of running the immigration system, thereby reducing the burden on the UK taxpayer. Although the economic impact assessments that are published alongside immigration fees legislation do not separately consider child-registration fees, they show the impact of fee increases on the volume of applications to be minimal.

Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Home Office charges more than £1,000 for children—including children who were born here and those who moved in infancy—to register as British citizens. Is this not profiteering at the expense of young people who seek to pledge their future to Britain? Is this not another Windrush scandal in the making, with people not getting the documents now that officials will rely on in future? The Home Secretary knows that he faces a legal challenge on this issue, so will he do the right thing and end these excessive charges now?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I will not speak about the legal case, for obvious reasons, but I have to disagree with the hon. Gentleman. It is right that there is a balance between the costs faced by the individuals who make applications and those faced by the taxpayer. It is sensible to keep those costs under review, and it is right that Parliament makes the decision as to whether costs are changed.

Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

Is the Home Secretary really proud of making more than £100 million of profit for the Home Office in the past five years from these charges? Given that the number of applications is going down while fees are going up, is he absolutely certain that the fee is having no implications for people’s decisions on whether to apply for citizenship?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The hon. Gentleman talks of it as profit, but the revenue generated is used not just to provide public services to those people who make applications but to support wider public services. As I said, it is right that we have a balance between the costs of an application and the costs to which the taxpayer is exposed.