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Statement from Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust:

“At Forces in Mind Trust, we agree from an evidence-based perspective with the Royal British Legion’s call for more to be done to counter the financial difficulty some Commonwealth ex-Service personnel encounter upon leaving the UK’s Armed Forces.

“Evidence from our Meeting the Needs of Commonwealth Personnel and Families report, undertaken by Anglia Ruskin University and published in March last year, highlights the difficulties Commonwealth Service personnel may encounter on the transition pathway. This work was commissioned at the behest of the Confederation of Service Charities’ ‘Foreign and Commonwealth’ cluster, which is chaired by the Army Families Federation, in recognition of their significant experience in this area.

“Our report makes 13 recommendations for improving the services and support available to serving and ex-Service personnel and their families. These recommendations include the need to address the high cost of visas, to reduce the complexities of the settlement process, and to provide better support and information to ex-Service personnel going through the visa application process.

“In line with the UK Armed Forces Covenant, those who have served ‘should be treated fairly’. Our evidence suggests that whilst visa fees are not, in themselves, unfair, the scale of the fees and the inadequate preparations (including individual saving) undertaken by some Commonwealth personnel does present disadvantage and should be addressed by the Home Office and Ministry of Defence.

“FiMT’s founding objective was to enable all ex-Service personnel to have a successful and sustainable transition. We will continue to pursue this aim using the robust evidence we generate to influence policy makers and service providers.”