2 MPs Say Families of Commonwealth Veterans are Subject to ‘Discriminatory’ Visa Fees

Two ministers of the United Kingdom parliament are pointing out families of military veterans of the Commonwealth for having issues with “deeply and profoundly discriminatory” visa fees. This has become more prominent after the ministers have argued after they have pleaded to relinquish expensive sums for veterans’ children and spouses. Unfortunately, the plea to renounce these families’ costly visa fees has been rejected.

Dan Jarvis, a Labor official, along with Johnny Mercer, Conservative’s preceding minister have joined forces to criticize the United Kingdom government. The criticism entails why the government has removed the immigration bill amounting to £2,389 and is only applicable for long serving and seasoned veterans. This has put concerned officials into arguments, thereby seeking a just answer.

The Defense Ministry and the UK government’s Home Office planned to make an announcement pertaining to the waiver in question. The announcement will take place on Monday, and it encapsulates who among the veterans will be affected by this waiver. According to the aforementioned authorities, the said waiver is applied to Fijian, Nepali, and other veterans of the Commonwealth with accumulated service of six years minimum or more.

However, this announcement will surely cause a huge problem among affected veterans, according to the ministers of the parliament. With this kind of waiver, the veterans will still have to shoulder Home Office fees that would definitely cost them thousands of pounds for resolving the immigration status of each of their family members.  This is more likely to take place when they are already removed or discharged from their service.

The ministers of the parliament emphasized their concern about this issue, pointing out the UK government as “someone who continues to make use of the veteran families as a source of sidelines.” With this issue, the ministers also said that the government proved itself to be very unjust because it clearly shows that it is practically making profits out of these families. In addition, these families should also be given the liberty to exercise their right to stay and remain in the country where the veterans had risked and given their lives.

The two ministers of the parliament are also veterans and courageously went public on the night before the announcement has been made. These two ministers highlighted that those people who have a “proud and long history” of service in the British military and armed forces are still poorly and appallingly treated.

For many, many years now, the United Kingdom often picks and uses soldiers that are foreign-born. In fact, over 7% of the British troops consist of individuals from outside the UK territory. The majority of these armed forces personnel are Fijians and Nepali who were commonly sent to Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere to serve and fight.

According to British laws, any veteran who had served a minimum period is given the privilege to earn British citizenship. However, because of increased fees, poor advice, and bureaucratic errors, many of the veteran families have been labeled as illegal immigrants in the country where they have long served.

The Citizenship4Soldiers, a campaign group asked the ministers to make a way to backdate the waiver. If this is going to be granted, around 600 Fiji veterans could benefit from it. The group also stressed why the families have been excluded.

Ben Wallace, the secretary of Defense said that he is “very much delighted to declare” that veterans and personnel who are in service for six years or more “are already excluded to pay for their visa.” The secretary also added that the said move is just plainly a way to show the country’s ‘sincere gratitude’ for the service imparted by these concerned veterans.




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