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Non-British troops who have served for 12 years could stay in country for free

Troops from non-UK nations who have served in the British armed forces for 12 years may be able to stay in the country for free following a public consultation.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Government is proposing to waive the £2,389 visa application fee for Commonwealth service personnel in order to “recognise their contribution”.

If successful, the policy changes would come into effect from the start of the 2021/22 financial year.

Non-UK troops would be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain if they have served the 12-year “initial engagement period” – the length of time all service personnel sign up to serve.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We owe those who showed us loyal service, our loyalty in return.

“It is right that we recognise their contribution by not only smoothing the pathway to residency and citizenship, but also by lifting the financial cost of doing so after 12 years of service.”

The public consultation is expected to run for six weeks up until July 7.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I am immensely proud that brave servicemen and women from around the world want to continue to call the UK their home after their service.

“It is only right that those who continue to do extraordinary work on behalf of our country are recognised and rewarded, and I am determined to support them settle in our wonderful communities right across the UK.”

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Leo Docherty added: “That so many non-UK citizens choose to bring their dedication, expertise and bravery to the UK Armed Forces is not something we take for granted, and I am pleased to support this policy proposal.

“We look forward to hearing the public’s view and working together to move these plans forward, strengthening our support to those who want to build a life in the country they bravely defended during their service.”

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