The UK’s immigration legislation states that certain members of armed forces are exempt from immigration control. This includes those members of the HM Forces subject to service law (Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force). However, dependents of members of the armed forces are not exempt from immigration control but dependents of military personnel of NATO and Commonwealth countries are exempt from the requirement of providing biometric information. Immigration law relating to HM Forces and their families can be quite complicated and it is advised to seek legal advice if you are intending on applying for indefinite leave to remain.
We were recently instructed by a Fijian national married to a British citizen who was leaving HM Forces after a successful career. Our expert immigration legal team assisted him with his application for indefinite leave to remain and recently received confirmation that he had been granted indefinite leave to remain. Our team reviewed his supporting documents, prepared his application for indefinite leave to remain and made legal representations on his behalf to the Home Office receiving a response in a short period of time.
Fijian Soldier Filimone Lacanivalu Wins Right to Stay in UK
In recent media news, it was reported that Filimone Lacanivalu, a former soldier from Fiji won his battle to stay in the UK after issuing a personal appeal to David Cameron. It seems that the former soldier had served with HM Forces for nine years but was facing deportation after he failed to fill in the necessary forms on his discharge from service.
Filimone Lacanivalu stated:
“I have been in the forces, I’ve put in effort, sacrificed my life in this country. I just think to stay here will be a benefit, there’s more opportunities.”
Filimone Lacanivalu was unaware that he had to apply for indefinite leave to remain once he had been discharged from the army. This resulted in him receiving a deportation order which has now been revoked following a case review by Home Secretary Theresa May and Immigration Minister Mark Harper.
New Rules Effecting Family Members of Ex HM Armed Forces
Changes to the current immigration rules will come into force on 1 December 2013 and are intended to align the treatment of non-EEA family members of service personnel with the general approach to family migration. At the same time, they aim to treat all non-EEA dependents of service personnel in the same way irrespective of the immigration status of the sponsor.
The following is a summary of changes:
- Service personnel who wish to sponsor their non-EEA dependents to either enter or stay in the UK must meet a minimum threshold of £18,600 for a partner, £22,400 for a partner and child and £2,400 for each additional child;
- A basic English language requirement will apply to all non-EEA partners of members of HM Armed Forces seeking to enter or stay in the UK;
- Non-EEA partners of British or foreign or Commonwealth citizens serving in HM Armed Forces will serve a five year probationary period before being eligible to apply for settlement; and
- To qualify for settlement non-EEA partners and children between the ages 18 and 65 will have to demonstrate their knowledge of language and life in the UK.
Immigration Lawyers for UK Armed Forces Visas
If you are a member of the Armed Forces or your family member is in the Armed Forces and you wish to know more about applying for settlement or leave to remain, you should seek legal advice from expert UK Immigration Solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to ensure that you know your options and how you can proceed to the next steps. Feel free to contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options.