New Settlement Route for Commonwealth HM Armed Forces
Many will recall various accounts of Commonwealth citizen recruits in the British army being denied British citizenship after four years’ service.
In addition, it has been reported that various members of the armed forces intending to apply for indefinite leave to remain after four years’ service face their applications being refused on account of military law convictions whilst in service. These individuals face their applications being refused because of recent changes to the immigration rules disqualifying any applicant from successfully applying for citizenship for indefinite leave to remain where they have any unspent criminal convictions.
It is clear that rules disqualifying members of the armed forces from qualifying for citizenship and settlement would be absurd particularly as most would have built a family life in the UK at the point of application. The Secretary of state has now responded to public outcry and has introduced a new route to settlement for such individuals.
From 13 December 2012 a foreign or commonwealth citizen discharged from the HM armed forces that would meet the criteria for settlement but for having either been recently imprisoned for less than 12 months or a non-custodial sentence, may still be eligible to apply for an extension of limited leave to remain.
This will allow an individual under this category to remain in the United Kingdom whilst their conviction becomes “spent”. Once their conviction is “spent” they can then apply for indefinite leave.