Tom Brake MP has added his name to a cross-party letter to Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, 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 to stay (Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR) in the UK after four years’ service. However, application costs have risen considerably in recent years and it currently costs almost £10,000 in visa fees for a service leaver to settle in the UK with a spouse and two children.
Tom Brake for Carshalton and Wallington said:
"During this divisive time, I am pleased to see this letter receive great cross-party support from over 130 MPs.
"The men and women who choose to join the UK’s Armed Forces put their lives on the line for our country every day. It is shameful that the Government is slapping them down with horrendously high visa fees.
"This demands in this letter must be listened to. I am glad to show my support to our fellow servicemen and women to stop the service charge and keep the best of the UK in the UK."
Charles Byrne, Director General at The Royal British Legion, said:
"Charging exorbitant fees to those who have sacrificed so much to serve our country is no way to thank Commonwealth service leavers. We are pleased so many MPs across the House and from different parties agree with our Stop the Service Charge campaign, and that Tom Brake MP is joining the call to have these fees waived. We hope the Government will listen to these serious concerns."