Lance Corporal Denis Omondi
Families

MP 'Delighted' After Soldier's Daughter Granted British Visa

Many soldiers are forced to take on second jobs to afford to move their families to the UK.

Lance Corporal Denis Omondi

(Picture: Omondi Family).

An MP has said he is "delighted" that a British soldier is to be reunited with his daughter after she was granted a visa to live with him in the UK.

Drew Hendry MP has campaigned on behalf of Lance Corporal Dennis Omondi, who is originally from Kenya but now serves with 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Mr Hendry is now calling for changes to immigration rules.

"I am absolutely delighted that Lance Corporal Dennis Omondi will finally be reunited with his daughter," he said.

"They should never have been put through this ordeal.

"The UK government must now urgently change its restrictive immigration rules that prevent serving Commonwealth soldiers, and other Armed Forces personnel, from bringing their families to live with them in Scotland and the UK."

Prior to the decision to give LCpl Omondi's daughter a visa, the soldier's wife told Forces News the family was "heartbroken".

Speaking before confirmation that the visa would be granted, Mr Hendry led a debate in the House of Commons and said he agreed with the words of Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat that: "Commonwealth troops should be able to bring their kids to Britain - if they fight for us, they should be able to live with us."

Immigration minister Caroline Noakes said she could not comment on the specific case but insisted the Government was sympathetic and recognises the "contributions and sacrifices made by Commonwealth members of the forces".

In February, the Home Secretary faced increasing pressure to change immigration rules so Commonwealth soldiers in the British Army could bring their families to the UK.

Senior MPs called for serving Armed Forces personnel to be exempt from the minimum income threshold due to their service to the country.

Under current immigration rules, foreign workers must earn £18,600 to apply for their spouse to live in the UK.

The minimum income requirement to bring over one child is £22,400 with an additional £2,400 for each child thereafter.

A soldier’s basic pay after training is £18,859 a year, forcing many to take on second jobs to afford to move their families to the UK.

(Picture: Crown Copyright).
Under current immigration rules, foreign workers must earn £18,600 to apply for their spouse to live in the UK (Picture: Crown Copyright).

It follows the scrapping of British residency requirements for Commonwealth citizens who wish to join the Armed Forces.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) removed the need for Commonwealth citizens to have lived in the UK for five years before applying for service.

Applicants from nations including India, Australia, Canada and Fiji are now considered for all roles in the forces, without having lived in Britain.

Since 2016, a maximum of 200 Commonwealth recruits were allowed to apply for certain jobs without meeting a residency requirement.

All other Commonwealth applicants who have lived in Britain for five years have been eligible to apply.

(Picture: MOD).
Applicants from nations including India, Australia, Canada and Fiji are now considered for all roles in the forces, without having lived in Britain (Picture: MOD).

There are currently over 6,000 personnel serving in the UK Armed Forces from foreign and Commonwealth countries, with more being recruited each year to fill technical and specialist roles.

The Army Families Federation (AFF) has said: "Commonwealth members of our Armed Forces make up a significant and vital part of the UK’s defence capability and as a nation, we ask them to make significant sacrifices to do so."