To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure UK residents are not being charged £1.37 a minute rate applied to non-UK residents over and above network charges to access her Department's spousal visa helpline.
14 November 2017
For overseas customers, UK Visas and Immigration have a chargeable call rates of £1.37 per minute, this charge is levied to fund the contact centre commercial contract as the UK government believes it is right that those who use and benefit directly from the UK immigration system make an appropriate contribution towards meeting the costs of the immigration system. Those who use the services from outside the UK are predominantly prospective customers and in many cases no application will be made and no application fee collected.
For UK Visas and Immigration in–country customers the contact centres provide information about the Immigration Rules and the Points Based System requirements via a number of published customer enquiry line numbers. In 2014, in line with Cabinet Office guidance, UKVI changed all 0845 and 0870 prefix helpline numbers to lower call tariff rate 0300 prefix numbers. UKVI do not generate any income from these non-geographic numbers enquiry lines.
UKVI have in place self selection pages on the Gov.uk website (see link below), as well as effective use of informative telephony message on our help lines to further ensure and assist customers wanting to contact UKVI. This initial triaging activity on our website ensures customers are provided with the correct point of contact within our business regarding their in country or overseas application enquiry.
UKVI have no imminent plans to increase the call charges on either the in country or overseas enquiry line numbers.
Our web site www.gov.uk is the main source of information and is free of charge.