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Consultation Tag

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

 

The government has announced a 12-week consultation seeking views on how to remove the discrimination caused by the transitional rules which meant older Service Personnel (SP) remained in their legacy schemes when other, younger, SP were transferred to the reformed scheme in 2015. 

 

In 2015 the government implemented reforms to all the main public service pension schemes, including the Armed Forces Pension Scheme. The reforms included a policy of transitional protection that meant members closest to retirement stayed in their old schemes. The Court of Appeal later found the policy to be discriminatory, primarily against younger members, and so since then the government has been working to address the discrimination. Whilst the simplest option would be to put public service pension members back in their legacy schemes, the Government has been clear that it will not do this as a significant number of personnel will be better off in the reformed (2015) schemes. Therefore, the final policy design needs to allow members a choice of which scheme is better for them.

 

The public service pensions consultation is the next stage in the process to remove the discrimination identified by the courts in the 2015 pension reforms. The changes proposed in the consultation to remove the discrimination will apply across all of the main public service pension schemes and provide members with a choice of which scheme benefits they would like to receive for the remedy period.

 

Scheme members who will be in scope are those who had service on or before 31 March 2012 and on or after 1 April 2015. This includes any pre-31 March 2012 re-joiners with a qualifying break in Service of less than 5 years. This includes those members who are currently serving and in-scope personnel who have left the service since 1 April 2015.  Members who were originally covered by the transitional protection will also be provided with a choice of which scheme benefits they would prefer to receive for the remedy period.

 

The remedy period is the time period for which members will be able to retrospectively choose which scheme benefits they will receive. It will run from 1 April 2015 which is when the reforms were introduced, until 31 March 2022 which is the point when treatment will be equalised going forward. This is because the government also proposes that, with effect from 1 April 2022, all those who continue in service will do so as members of the AFPS 15 irrespective of whether they previously had transitional protection or not.

 

The Government and the Ministry of Defence have issued communications on the consultation, the options and impacts on pension schemes. Service Personnel and families are recommended to read these communications which can be accessed through MODNET or directly on the Government’s website.

 

Posted on: 17th July, 2020

 

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched a new, open consultation to discover how those within, and working with, the Armed Forces community feel funding could be best used to support them. The consultation comes ahead of the re-launch of the Armed Forces Covenant: Local Grants programme, which has successfully supported hundreds of local projects over the last five years, strengthening the Armed Forces community both in terms of integration and delivery of local services.

 

By seeking valuable feedback as part of this eight-week consultation, the Trust will shape a new programme, based on the needs and priorities identified at a local level, and will use the evidence gathered to inform their overall priority for 2020 of Integration and Engagement.

 

Your views are vital

As well as which groups of people you feel are most in need of funding support, your views of grant size and how those grants are made are also welcomed. The consultation is live from 13 January until 6 March 2020. To take part, visit the Trust’s website where details can be found on their homepage.

 

Posted on: 15th January, 2020

 

In July 2019, the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations took the opportunity to submit a joint response to the Department for Education’s call for evidence: ‘Provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and for those who need additional provision: how the financial arrangements work’.

 

The Naval Families Federation advocates on behalf of Royal Navy and Royal Marines families and we support the view that children’s education should not be disadvantaged by their parent’s Service.  In our submission we highlight some of the key issues and challenges that can arise for Armed Forces children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and suggested a number of recommendations, based on evidence gathered by the three Families Federations. The full report can be accessed here.

 

Posted on: 12th August, 2019