Former soldier who served with army for nine years no longer faces deportation after issuing personal appeal to MPs
A former soldier from Fiji has won his battle to stay in the UK after issuing a personal appeal to prime minister David Cameron.
Filimone Lacanivalu, who served with the army for nine years, was facing deportation after he failed to fill in the necessary reforms on his discharge from the service.
But after his case was taken up in the press and by MPs, he has now been told that he can settle in Britain.
Lacanivalu, who served with the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire regiment in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland, said he was a “happy man” now that his case had been resolved.
“I have been in the forces, I’ve put in effort, sacrificed my life for this country. I just think to stay here will be a benefit, there’s more opportunities,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Home secretary Theresa May and immigration minister Mark Harper were reported to have personally reviewed his case before deciding he could remain.
Lacanivalu, who spent five weeks in a detention centre awaiting deportation to Fiji, said it had never been explained to him that he would need to apply to remain in the UK when he left the army.
“I was not aware of that because I did not receive any instructions from the army itself or the Ministry of Defence before I left the forces,” he said.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We recognise the immense sacrifice and contribution made by our armed forces and try to reflect this in the immigration rules.
“Foreign and commonwealth military personnel who have served for more than four years can apply to settle here up to two years after leaving the military.
“Although Mr Lacanivalu applied to stay outside of this time, the home secretary and immigration minister personally reviewed his case and, in light of his service in the British army, have agreed he should be granted settlement in the UK.”