If you’re a non-UK family, your immigration status affects almost every part of your life in the UK, from your ability to work to opening a bank account. AFF’s F&C team works with a wide range of organisations to help non-UK families resolve complex immigration issues, and here we outline some of those who make a difference…

COMMUNITIES FIJI BRITAIN

Set up in 2015 to provide welfare support and guidance to Fijians based in the UK, Communities Fiji Britain (CFB)
now supports more than 200 cases a year, covering all aspects of welfare support.

A recent case demonstrates the level of collaboration that’s often required. A spouse was referred to AFF by her husband’s unit welfare officer after her relationship with her soldier had broken down, leaving her facing homelessness and with no means of supporting her two British children as she had no recourse to public funds.

She’d also received a debt letter for non-payment of gas and electricity.

“We arranged for the debt to be written off and for the Royal British Legion to provide food vouchers. We also gathered the documents required for the visa application and liaised with DIO to prevent an eviction,” explains Hilary (pictured) from CFB.

“The spouse was issued her Indefinite Leave to Remain and is now receiving benefits to help support her children. CFB continues to support her with her housing applications, ensuring she’s receiving the correct state benefits and helping her to get a school place for her child.”

JOINING FORCES FOR FAMILIES

A project funded by the Armed Forces Covenant and delivered by Citizens Advice, it helps service families facing difficulties.

AFF’s F&C team has referred several estranged spouses who needed help with debt or with their housing and benefit applications, as well as support with child custody cases.

“In one case, the Joining Forces for Families caseworker attended a possession order hearing with the spouse and
argued the case for a six-week extension as well as deferment of costs. Our collaboration meant that the caseworker was fully aware of the ongoing work by AFF to resolve the spouse’s immigration status. He was able to communicate this to the judge to show that the spouse was doing all she could to resolve the situation,” says Katherine, AFF’s F&C specialist.

GILDEA HOUSE

An article about welfare support to non-UK spouses wouldn’t be complete without talking about the excellent service provided by Terrie and Jill at Gildea House. It’s a SSAFA sheltered housing facility for women and children which regularly accepts non-UK spouses whose relationships have broken down, usually as a result of domestic abuse.

Housing manager Terrie, says: “We’re able to help with food vouchers, clothing, nappies, toiletries and all the things you may need on your arrival.

We continue to support you financially until you’re in receipt of benefits. Staff are here to listen, signpost and to help you move forward with your life.”

  • If you’re an F&C family who needs help, find us at aff.org.uk 

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