Under current rules foreign and Commonwealth troops can claim British citizenship after four years of military service. There are currently 8,505 foreign and Commonwealth soldiers serving in the British forces and that number does not include the 3,880 Gurkhas who previously won the right to residency. But a new law, which appears to be increasingly used against foreign soldiers who have been disciplined at commanding officer level, is leaving them without basic rights or status. The changes mean that foreign and Commonwealth soldiers, who receive a military summary punishment from their commanding officer for even minor non-criminal offences, will be given a criminal conviction in civilian life. As a result they will be mandatorily refused British citizenship upon discharge from the Army, indentified as 'illegals' and deported. The previous rules allowed for discretion over such decisions. Veterans' Aid, a small charity which has provided pro bono advocacy for these soldiers, says it has seen at least 100 such cases over the last year. "We've dealt with well over a hundred cases since we've been doing this, but what is interesting is that each case takes such a long time. In fact for one case it was 18 months. So that's without income; without work. It's a very difficult system to work with. But the point is this morning we had six calls, two of them from serving soldiers."
Our military justice system is completely different to civilian justice. It's much stricter and punishments are usually far harsher.
As one soldier, who was recently given two years leave to remain after fighting the Borders Agency's decision, said: "If you don't want us in your country, don't accept us in your Army." I agree. Apologies for the spacing but it must be influenced by the video's HTML. As my knowledge is limited I'm unable to fix it, but I consider the video to be a fundamental part of the post.