24 Oct 2016, 43 mins ago

It has been widely reported in the press that a growing number of ex-members of HM Forces who are foreign nationals are being refused British citizenship or indefinite leave to remain based on convictions imposed under military law whilst serving in our armed forces. These convictions are often for very minor military offences.

For immigration purposes, a military summary punishment counts the same as a criminal conviction in a civilian court, which is then highly likely to disqualify the applicant from citizenship. It will also disqualify the applicant from indefinite leave to remain as it is a precondition that the applicant must have no unspent criminal convictions.

The armed forces have actively recruited these soldiers and could not manage without them. To deny them permission to stay in the UK based on minor convictions particularly where they often have family in the UK is unfair and there will undoubtedly be legal challenges to this.

Veteran’s Aid, a registered charity, provides advice and assistance to these armed forces personnel and is actively promoting a change in the law, which we support.