Robert has added his name to a cross-party group of MP’s who have written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for the abolition of visa fees for Commonwealth servicemen and women in the British armed forces.
Currently Commonwealth citizens serving in the UK armed forces have the right to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after four years’ service if they choose to stay in the UK. However application costs have risen considerably in recent years, meaning it would currently cost almost £10,000 in visa fees for a service leaver to settle in the UK with a spouse and two children.
This has created a situation where Commonwealth citizens are often forced to choose between leaving the UK or remaining here and splitting up their family. The Royal British Legion, which has raised awareness of this issue through their ‘Stop the Service Charge’ campaign, say they provided £36,000 in grants for visa fees last year alone.
The letter, which has been signed by more than 130 different MPs from 8 different parties, calls on the Home Secretary to recognise those who have served in the UK armed forces by abolishing visa costs for them and their families.
Robert said: "Charging high visa fees to those who have sacrificed to serve this country is no way to thank our brave Commonwealth veterans. Let's scrap the service charge to ensure that those who have served our nation have the right to apply to stay without exorbitant costs."