To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on the status and rights of Fijian citizens in the British Army with Commonwealth passports and indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK to (a) enter UK airports without difficulty and (b) remain in the UK.
27 April 2017
We work very closely with the Home Office, and they have specific rules for Commonwealth personnel in relation to their immigration status while serving and their ability to settle in the UK indefinitely.
Under the Immigration Act 1971 Commonwealth Nationals are exempt from immigration control whilst serving as a regular in HM Forces. On request, the Home Office will issue Commonwealth personnel an 'Exempt vignette' to confirm their status. This is issued on enlistment, and is valid for the entirety of their regular service and enables them to come and go from the UK without restriction for the purposes of their duty. A wide range of advice and support is available to Service personnel about their immigration status and they will be sign posted to qualified immigration advisers for help with specific questions and applications.
Service personnel can apply to the Home Office for indefinite leave to remain in the UK up to 10 weeks prior to or, if eligible, within two years of discharge, or indefinite leave to enter the UK within two years of leaving the Services if they have returned to their country of origin. The Home Office determine if they meet the eligibility criteria for settlement.