The Home Secretary has now confirmed plans to introduce a "limited leave route" for foreign and Commonwealth ex-Armed Forces personnel who fail to qualify for indefinite leave or citizenship because of a "relatively minor" disciplinary conviction.
This follows a campaign sparked by the case of Fijian-born ex Lance Corporal Isimel "Bale" Baleiwai, who the UK Border Agency had told to leave the country by August because of a disciplinary award against him by his Commanding Officer. No-one had anticipated or advised personnel that a guilty plea in such cases could result in such drastic consequences for ex-service personnel and their families, under changes in the UK Border Agency's rules.
Official channels had failed to spot the problem or make representations to the UKBA before the rules were introduced.
In a welcome separate development, it has also been confirmed that "Bale" Baleiwai has had his military conviction for assault overturned.
The campaign was led by the independent charity Veterans Aid, and strongly supported by BAFF and many others.
BAFF welcomes the change of policy and would like to thank everyone who signed the petitions, with our encouragement on various websites. We congratulate Veterans Aid and, above all, the Baleiwai family and all other veterans who have conducted themselves with such dignity during this tremendously worrying time.
BAFF will continue to monitor developments and will examine the details as published by the Home Office.