Today the Liberal Democrats announce that the party will waive the exorbitant leave to remain application fees for members of the Armed Forces who were born outside of the UK. The fees cost a family of four almost £10k.
In recent years the fees for these applications have been increased to exorbitant levels: they now stand at £2,389 per person, despite the unit cost to the Home Office of processing an application being just £243. This means that the cost of applying for a family of four is £9,556.
These excessive fees have prevented many brave veterans from taking up their right to settle in the UK with their families. Some have been forced to leave the country they have served for and lived in for years; others have remained in the UK without immigration status, unable to work in the country they sought to defend.
Portsmouth's Liberal Democrat Leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson said:
“Foreign and Commonwealth citizens have a proud legacy of serving our country in the Armed Forces. These excessive fees have prevented many brave veterans and their families from living in the UK and forced many to a life of destitution.
“These men and women risk their lives in the service of our country, and the fact they are treated this way by the Conservative party is yet another horrible example of the hostile environment.
“A Liberal Democrat government will waive the outrageous application fees for members of the Armed Forces on discharge and their families.”