61.We note the reference in the required information explaining that no application fee is charged for these applications “with the exception of applications made under 4F”. We further note the undertaking that “applicants who have previously been refused on character grounds will have the opportunity to reapply when the good character requirement is removed”. This is positive; however, it was not clear to us if applicants who have previously paid an application fee for a section 4F application and been refused on character grounds under 4F would need to pay a further application fee for such a reapplication.
62.In the letter from the Chair to the Home Secretary dated 18 April 2018, we sought clarification as to whether applicants who have previously been refused on character grounds under 4F would need to pay an application fee for a reapplication following this change to the requirements. In the reply of 4 May 2018 the Immigration Minister stated:
“Individuals will be charged a fee for any application made under section 4F of the British Nationality Act 1981. Section 4F remains a registration route for British citizenship and in accordance with Schedule 8 of the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2018 a fee is required. This applies where an applicant submits a second application under the same registration route.”.
63.Whilst the Committee can understand generally why a fee may be charged for applications, we think it is wrong to charge a person a second time for a re-application when their original application was rejected on discriminatory grounds. This effectively amounts to a discrimination charge that only those who have been discriminated against need pay, effectively charging them double someone who was not discriminated against. Further we consider that it would be within the powers of this proposed Remedial Order to make this sort of consequential amendment to the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2018.
64.People who have been refused British nationality because of discrimination should not have to pay an application fee a second time to reapply once that discrimination is removed. We recommend that the Home Office take steps to ensure that those previously discriminated against do not have to pay the application fee when reapplying under section 4F (e.g. by making a consequential amendment to the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Regulations 2018).
Published: 31 May 2018