The UK Home Office has said a new outsourcing contract means that a single email to its UK Visas and Immigration department from abroad will cost you almost £6 to send.
In an announcement, UK Visas and Immigration said that all customer enquiries would now be handled "by a new commercial partner Sitel UK". They went on to say that the changes from this new outsourcing would "help the government reduce costs and ensure those who benefit directly from the UK immigration system make an appropriate contribution."
Along with reducing the number of languages available to only eight, including English, and phone numbers changing, "customers who contact UK Visas and Immigration by email will be charged £5.48".
This charge, the announcement states "includes the first email enquiry you send and any follow-up emails to and from the contact centre relating to the same enquiry".
Many have expressed outrage at the new charge. "This is insane," wrote one on Twitter. Others said that the charge was extortionate considering the amounts foreign nationals already have to pay to receive a UK visa.
Other reports have suggested that the charges might affect the UK tourism and hospitality industries, with industry leaders calling for a pro-tourism approach from the government.
The Home Office posted the announcement on 30 May, just two days before the charges are set to come into force on 1 June.
Sitel UK told IBTimes UK that the fees had been set by the Home Office and said further information should be sought from the Home Office.