Stop The Service Charge

We are campaigning with The Royal British Legion to Stop the Service Charge. We want the UK Government to scrap fees for military personnel from the Commonwealth, and their families, who wish to stay in the UK after they leave Service.

The UK Government has published a consultation that will run until 7 July 2021, in which it is proposes that Commonwealth personnel who have served a minimum of 12 years will no longer have to pay immigration fees to continue calling this country home. The UK Government is seeking feedback on this proposal and it's time for you to join us in saying this isn't good enough.

We firmly believe that fees should be abolished after 4 years of Service, aligning with when personnel are legally eligible to claim Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The proposals also do nothing to address the fees faced by the families of Commonwealth personnel. This is despite the integral support they provide to an effective Armed Forces. Families also experience the same stresses, strains and sacrifices of Service life as our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women, including accompanying them on postings and supporting them through deployments.

If like us you believe that the UK Government's proposals don't go far enough and that ILR fees should be waived for Commonwealth personnel and their families after 4 years of Service, please respond to the consultation via the Government's website.

Stop the service charge

Contact the UK Government today to ask them to stop the service charge for Commonwealth personnel and their families after 4 years of Service.
Respond to the consultation

Exorbitant immigration fees are no way to say thank you for their Service, and risk pushing commonwealth personnel into poverty just for wanting stability as they leave Service.

Without leave to remain, UK Armed Forces veterans are cut off from being able to access employment or state support, leaving them and their families reliant on charitable funds or facing repatriation to their country of origin.

The Commonwealth backbone to the UK Armed Forces

The UK recruits soldiers from across the Commonwealth to serve in our Armed Forces. Many of these soldiers leave behind family and friends to move across the world to serve in the UK Armed Forces, becoming a backbone of our Armed Forces capability.

In 2020 there were 5,110 commonwealth citizens serving across the Armed Forces. During service, they are exempt from UK immigration controls, but this exemption is removed as soon as they leave the military. Personnel who have served for four years are eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK but must pay visa application fees that have risen from £155 to £2,389 per person since 2003.

Unlike their UK national colleagues, these personnel and their families can only continue to live in the country they’ve served at a significant financial cost. This is unfair and should end.

Further information

Right now, the most important action that can be taken is to raise this issue with the government. It only takes a minute to respond to the Government consultation.

You can also spread the word about the campaign using the hashtag #StopTheServiceCharge

For further information or to discuss this campaign further, please contact r.thomson@poppyscotland.org.uk

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