Following changes to immigration and nationality law, AFF has been on the road visiting camps around the country. With Shorncliffe in Kent among the many stops, F&C Specialist Katherine Houlston reveals that citizenship concerns topped families’ agendas…
WE ANSWERED lots of questions about the new minimum income requirement, how to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), citizenship and the options available when your soldier leaves the Army.
Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) was a hot topic for the Nepalese families based in Shorncliffe as many of them were granted this visa on entry to the UK from Brunei and were concerned they needed to apply for ILR.
Help for families
Gurkha soldiers are not able to apply for citizenship whilst they are still serving but as a spouse, you’re eligible once you have ILR/E and meet the requirements.
This includes taking the Life in the UK and English Language test, as well as being in the UK on the first day of the five-year qualifying period.
The good news is that children of Gurkha families are now eligible to apply for citizenship once the spouse has been granted.
At Deepcut, one of your main concerns was the minimum income requirement, which was introduced in December 2013 for soldiers wishing to bring dependants to the UK or switch their spouse onto a dependant visa.
Many of you were angry about the level of income required, especially those soldiers who had enlisted before the rules changed.
Coming to a town near you
We’re planning to visit more areas in the future, so if you’d like us to give a presentation where you live, speak to your local AFF Co-ordinator – www.aff.org.uk – or your unit welfare officer.