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As a direct access immigration barrister practising and the head of Imperium Chambers I have seen a few changes recently and a staggering amount since I have been involved in immigration work since 1999.

The latest change which is set out in the link below is that the Secretary of State is proposing to raise the Immigration Health Surcharge by not 10% or 20% but to double it.

I can understand the need for the state to ensure that those who are here are able to pay their way, subject of course to asylum seekers and those who are destitute but an increase of double to the Immigration Health Surcharge seems to me to be little more than an attack on Migrants in general and part of the long discredited plan to reduce immigration to tens rather than hundreds of thousands of people. The effect on a family of 5 is staggering – instead of paying £500 they will now have to pay £1000, each!

All I can suggest and I will repeat this throughout the coming weeks and months is that anyone who is contemplating making an application to regularise your status, please make it now, please do not wait until it becomes ever harder to pay the HO fees.

I can remember a time when the fees were in the low hundreds now for a family of 5 to make an application next year they will be looking at in excess of £10,000. In my view it encourages people to remain under the radar and certainly I do not think having seen some of the appalling refusal letters are people getting value for money. I have seen 2 or 3 page refusal letters where the facts, including nationality are wrong in cases where there are children, and I think to myself that these individuals have probably spent, borrowed or sold their own objects to pay say £5,000 to the HO just to get a letter that does not make any sense. Its bad enough at the moment, however the future looks even worse.

So if you are thinking of making an application or seeking to regularise your stay please do so as early as you can, we at Imperium Chambers specialise in dealing with cases that require a fast and effective turnaround, recently, I had less than 24 hours to lodge a Court of Appeal application and have had to make applications from scratch within a day or so.

It is not too late to avoid paying this additional money, if you are thinking about regularising your status, now is the time, if you have an application coming up and can make it before the changes, do so.

Given the paragraph 322 5 mess and problems caused by the hostile atmosphere created by the Home Office towards migrants I am taking bookings for conferences in the evenings, by telephone and on Saturdays. I understand that it can be hard juggling family commitments and work and therefore I am happy to work around you, especially in these trying times.

Please feel free to get in touch with me or my expert team at Imperium Chambers 020 7242 3488 or email at clerks@imperiumchambers.co.uk and we will find time to see you and hopefully help you in your immigration problem.


Paul Turner is a highly regarded direct access immigration barrister and the Head of Imperium Chambers, 2 Selkirk Road, London, SW17 0ES, he is licensed to provide legal services and to litigate on behalf of the public.