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Updates and FAQs – UK Visas & Citizenship

Naval Families Federation immigration adviser Pete Hawley has been invited to contribute to a consultation which could result in visa fees being waived for non-UK military personnel at the end of their service.

 

The public consultation, launched at the end of May by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel, would change policy so that non-UK Service personnel could be offered indefinite leave to remain in the UK for free after serving at least 12 years in the Armed Forces, subject to eligibility criteria.

 

The proposal from the MOD and Home Office could save each applicant £2,389 in the costs of applications.

 

The 12-year yardstick reflects the length of time all Service personnel initially sign up to serve, known as the initial engagement period.

 

There are currently more than 10,000 non-UK citizens serving in the UK Armed Forces from countries around the world including Australia, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and South Africa, many of whom may consider applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK when their service ends.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We owe those who showed us loyal service our loyalty in return.

 

“It is right that we recognise their contribution by not only smoothing the pathway to residency and citizenship, but also by lifting the financial cost of doing so after 12 years of service.”

 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I am immensely proud that brave Servicemen and women from around the world want to continue to call the UK their home after their service.

 

“It is only right that those who continue to do extraordinary work on behalf of our country are recognised and rewarded, and I am determined to support them settle in our wonderful communities right across the UK.”

 

Leo Docherty, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said: “That so many non-UK citizens choose to bring their dedication, expertise and bravery to the UK Armed Forces is not something we take for granted, and I am pleased to support this policy proposal.

 

“We look forward to hearing the public’s view and working together to move these plans forward, strengthening our support to those who want to build a life in the country they bravely defended during their service.”

 

While Pete has been invited to provide evidence in his role as an OISC Level 1 Immigration Adviser, members of the public can also contribute to the consultation on the proposed policy changes.

 

The consultation will run until 7 July, and feedback will be used to further inform and shape these changes. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the proposed policy change is expected to come into effect for Financial Year 2021/22.

 

Posted on: 3rd June, 2021
Updated: 1st July, 2021

 

A new section has been added to the Naval Families Federation website offering advice and guidance through the complex rules and regulations on UK visas and citizenship.

 

The new pages complement the personal advice offered by recently-qualified NFF immigration adviser Peter Hawley, who handles cases and enquiries from serving military personnel and their families, as well as veterans and their families who are still under Armed Forces immigration rules.

 

Information contained within the UK Visas and Citizenship pages will not only assist serving sailors and Marines and their families, but will also be a boon to the Chain of Command and supporting agencies.

 

UK immigration rules are an area requiring a degree of specialist knowledge – getting it wrong could lead to a costly error, or a situation which has major implications for future immigration applications.

 

As such, the information provided – compiled with the help of military immigration law specialist Joanne Sullivan of GBS UK Immigration – offers general guidance.

 

The pages also signpost to other websites which cover or specialise in visa and citizenship matters such as Gov.uk – the official UK government website – and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), which regulates immigration advisers.

 

Pete (Peter.Hawley@nff.org.uk) is qualified to provide immigration advice for all applications within the Immigration Rules for the following categories at Level 1:

  • Applications for entry clearance, leave to enter and leave to remain for visitors and family members;
  • Nationality and Citizenship;
  • Some aspects of EU and EEA immigration law.

 

He will not advise on enquiries relating to student or work visas, which are outside the scope of the NFF, and requests for advice on more complicated or specialist immigration issues will be referred on to agencies qualified to Level 2, in most cases either Joanne Sullivan or Katherine Houlston of the Army Families Federation (AFF).

 

For further details of how the NFF can help you in more complicated immigration issues see the OISC statement on our website at nff.org.uk/oisc-details/

 

NFF Chief Executive Officer Anna Wright said:

 

“I am thrilled that the NFF is able to expand the suite of advice and guidance that we can offer into the complicated area of immigration.

“My colleagues field queries on immigration issues on a regular basis, and this is yet more proof of our determination to provide a comprehensive support service for all of our Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.”

 

The new web pages, designed and created by NFF Marketing and Communications Manager Cinmi Walker, went live today (8th September, 2020) and will be updated regularly as rules and regulations change.

 

The NFF website also offers advice on accommodation, education, employment, finance, leaving the Service, overseas assignments, relationships and wellbeing.

 

Posted on: 8th September, 2020