In a further sign of hardening attitudes to post-Brexit arrangements, Home Secretary, Priti Patel, is reportedly looking at eliminating a concession on UK visa fees for citizens of 26 European countries.
According to the terms of the 1961 European Social Charter (ESC), an automatic £55 reduction is offered to those seeking UK work visas from signatory nations.
The signatory nations include 22 of the European Union’s (EU) 27 member states, in addition to Iceland, North Macedonia, Norway and Turkey.
The UK is a signatory of the ESC via its membership of the Council of Europe, which predated the country’s membership of the EU.
Sky News quotes a “Whitehall source” as claiming the concession is “being reviewed” as part of a broader effort to make the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system “as fair as possible for everyone” and to “level the playing field” for applicants from all corners of the globe.
For its part, the Home Office maintains that “all visa fees are kept under review”.
A Home Office spokesperson issued the following statement: "Now free movement has ended our ambition is to ensure consistency and fairness across the immigration system, including across EU Member states”.
"Health and care workers are offered significantly lower fees under the new health and care visa", the statement added.