Welwyn Hatfield Labour Councillors presented a motion to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council calling for the Conservative Government to act on the difficulties faced by Commonwealth veterans following their service in the UKs armed forces.
Hatfield Central Councillor Glyn Hayes was contacted by Labour Friends of the Forces and quickly moved to act on the unfair treatment of those who serve this Country.
Appalling cases such as that of Taitusi Ratucaucau who served for over a decade in the British Army, including tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, but was denied life saving NHS treatment due to his immigration status.
Less recently, Filimone Lacanivalu a veteran of nine years service was 48hrs away from being deported in 2013 despite serving two tours of Afghanistan. He spent five weeks in a detention camp pleading to stay in the country he risked his life to defend.
Veterans who do apply for citizenship face hefty fees but if they cannot afford to pay, or if their application fails, they can face deportation even if they have families in the UK.
While waiting for a decision on their settlement status, they are unable to seek employment, claim benefits or register with a GP.
Councillor Hayes, who is the Armed Forces Champion for Welwyn Hatfield and himself a former Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers said
“its simply not right that these brave men and women having completed their service to this Country face barriers to living here and are denied healthcare and the ability to work. It’s time for action to do what’s right. Veterans who give years of service to this Country should not be charged to live in it or receive the support we all enjoy. I’m pleased that the Council will be writing to the Prime Minister, his Ministers of state and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps to make it clear that this situation cannot continue.”
Labour’s motion was presented to the Full Council meeting of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council on Monday 23rd November and was praised by all three political parties who voted in favour of it unanimously.