I am confident of my Ministerial colleagues' commitment to ensuring that neither the fees nor registration process should act as a barrier to young people playing a full role in society. As you may be aware, naturalisation is not mandatory for the full enjoyment of rights.
I believe that charges are necessary in principle for funding the infrastructure of visa, immigration and citizenship services. Under the Immigration Act 2014, Parliament agreed that fees could be set by taking factors such as wider immigration system costs into account. Indeed, setting fees above the level of processing costs allows the Government to invest in improvements to the wider immigration service, for example enhancing its security provision and further digitising processes for additional efficiency.
Raising fees for certain services also allows charges for other services, such as short-term visit visas, to be reduced. The 2+ million short term visit visas issued annually deliver significant benefits for UK citizens, generating business and employment, as well as allowing for visits from family and friends.
I welcome the fact that my colleagues in Government keep the issue of citizenship fees under review.