Immigrants tend, as a rule, to be a good source of income for the British Treasury.
They use public services like the rest of us, but the amount they put into the Exchequer in the form of taxes is greater than the amount that is spent on them. It may seem illogical, therefore, to ask them to pay added fees for the privilege of becoming citizens.
This is not, despite some suggestions yesterday, a special tax - merely four or five specific payments which immigrants already make, to pay for the processing of their documents and so on, which will be increased a little.
While the money may help schools and hospitals struggling to cope with high immigration levels, it is unlikely to solve their problems. A school in which native-English speakers are in the minority, for example, is going to face severe challenges however much funding is provided.
But the extra payments will constitute recognition that a British passport is not something any foreigner is entitled to but rather, a privilege which may be earned by people who really value it.
The fees will also represent a commitment to contributing to this country. Whether they will be enough to reduce the genuine concern that sections of the public feel about current immigration levels is another matter.
Yesterday's proposals are based on feedback from residents including a panel in Birmingham, who have advised ministers such as Liam Byrne on immigration policy. Many members of the public apparently felt immigrants should pay higher taxes - an idea which would be ethically dubious and, presumably, illegal. The increase in fees is an alternative based on the same principle.
Another major change is the creation of a new class of resident, the probationary citizen.
This will be a temporary state of affairs for those people on the path to full citizenship, assuming they don't commit any serious crimes in the meantime.
While the idea of encouraging immigrants to speed up the process by taking part in community work is a nice one, it is not quite the radical change that the Government seems to be suggesting. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, faced criticism yesterday because the changes apply only to immigrants from outside the European Union.
Despite some reports, these do still make up the majority of immigrants.
But it is hard to explain why the descendants of people who fought to defend this country find it harder to come to Britain than EU citizens.