Non-UK personnel face ‘unique disadvantages’

Significant challenges non-UK military personnel face with their immigration status have been highlighted in a new report.

Research by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has revealed obstacles like the Minimum Income Requirement, visa and immigration costs for family members and lack of career progression.

A report, produced following interviews with serving personnel, veterans and family members, concluded the current immigration process is unnecessarily complex and unreasonably expensive.

It has recommended a single point of contact for help with immigration administration and automatic, free citizenship for personnel.

The study was funded by the Forces in Mind Trust. Chief Executive Michelle Alston said: “The majority of those who took part in this research spoke of their pride at being part of the British Armed Forces and were grateful for the opportunities it provided.

“However, the research highlights the unique disadvantages they face, including significant immigration challenges and the cost of exorbitant fees to become a citizen of the country they served to protect.”

Dr Nick Caddick, of ARU, added: “We’ve spoken to people who, because they were badly informed, had their visa applications turned down, but have never had their fees refunded. And we know there are veterans who were forced to return to their country of origin, where they struggle to access proper healthcare for mental and physical problems connected with their time in the Armed Forces.

“It seems unreasonable that those who served our country should face so many barriers when they wish to remain here.”

The study, Understanding and Improving Non-UK service and transition in the British Armed Forces, found some interviewees felt they didn’t have the same chances as British-born colleagues and their skills were ignored.

AFF has been providing immigration expertise and evidence to the university over several years to help develop its studies. Foreign & Commonwealth Specialist Katherine Houlston said: “We welcome the findings of their latest research as they reflect the issues that are being raised to AFF by serving personnel, families and veterans. 

“Whilst progress is being made in some areas, there are still gaps in provision of support as well as policies and processes which are not fit for purpose.  We will continue to work with ARU and Service charities to raise the issues and hold the Home Office and the MOD to account.”

The full report is here: Report calls for specific support for non-UK Armed Forces Community – Forces in Mind Trust (fim-trust.org)


POSTED ON 7 MARCH 2024

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    It’s about time our goverment brought these points up to date and caught up with this it’s been a long time coming .

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