The Queen on the application of Filimone Bulnatidrai Lacanivalu v SSHD
Vinita Templeton, immigration solicitor for legal 500 firm Duncan Lewis, won the case of Fijan war veteran Private Filimone Lacanivalu’s immigration detention and removal from great Britain.
Pte Filimone, a former soldier from Fiji has been granted residency in the UK following his widely publicised
plight; which included a personal plea to the PM, exposure in several national newspapers and a number of radio and television interviews with the Duncan Lewis immigration solicitor who fought his case, Vinita
Pte Filimone, who served with the army for nine years, was facing deportation on Sunday 19th November after he failed to fill in the necessary reforms on his discharge from the service.
He has now been granted permission to remain, after his case was taken up by the press and MP’s.
Pte Lacanivalu, who served with 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire regiment in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Island, said he was now “a happy man” following the resolve of his case.
"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.
It is reported that Home secretary Theresa may and immigration minister Mark Harper personally reviewed his case before deciding that he could remain in the UK.
Pte Lacanivalu, who spent five weeks detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, waiting deportation to Fiji, told BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire on her radio program last week, that he felt he had been “let down and “betrayed” because of the treatment he was subjected to.
He said that 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: A Home Office spokesperson said: "We recognise the immense sacrifice and contribution made by our Armed Forces and try to reflect this in the Immigration Rules. We adhere to the principle in the Armed Forces Covenant, and aim to ensure that service personnel suffer no disadvantage as a result of their service.
"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.”
Vinita Templeton, who is part of the Duncan Lewis solicitors immigration team represented Pte Lacanivalu’s case. She added on the case’s outcome;
“This is an excellent outcome for Filimone. However, we wish to highlight that there are many others in his situation. There are clear inconsistencies in the immigration rules and policies concerning foreign soldiers in the British army.”
“This is an excellent outcome for Filimone. However, we wish to highlight that there are many others in his situation. There are clear inconsistencies in the immigration rules and policies concerning foreign soldiers in the British army. The 28 day period is a disadvantage when compared even to the rights of a foreign migrant worker in the UK, and many dischargees have been prejudiced as a result. There is a real need for this rule to be reviewed to reflect the sacrifices and commitment that these soldiers have given to this country.”