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  1. Aim To introduce you to the United Kingdom and the British Army so you understand where to get advice and information to help you settle.

  2. What I will cover • An introduction to: • The United Kingdom • The British Army • The Regiment • Sources of: • Civilian and military support • Immigration and Visa information • Questions

  3. About the United Kingdom

  4. About the United Kingdom (UK) • Consists of Wales England, Scotland and Northern Ireland • Population - about 60m people • Major ethnic groups - White, Asian, Black Caribbean and Black African • Currency - the Pound (£) • Average Annual Temperature 9.7celsius • Annual average rainfall - 753mm Scotland Northern Ireland Wales England

  5. United Kingdom - social culture and law • UK social culture and laws may be different to your own • UK law provides and protects quality of life whilst bringing to justice those who commit offences. • This includes: • Equality of opportunity • Preventing discrimination because of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation • Outlawing domestic abuse • Immigration law • Safeguarding children UK law Provides equality of opportunity Reduces domestic violence Protects the UK from illegal immigration Safeguards children

  6. Education • Eligible children must normally attend school which is free between the ages of 5 –16 years. • Eligible four-year-olds and the majority of three-year-olds are entitled to free early years education • Children with Additional or Special Educational Needs or a disability must be registered with the Army

  7. Housing • Service Families Accommodation (SFA) is for soldiers and their immediate family • Monthly rent deducted from soldiers pay • Seek permission if visitors are staying for longer than 28 days • Contribution in Lieu of Council Tax deducted from soldiers pay monthly

  8. Housing • Emergency and routine repairs • Electricity/Gas/Oil Bills • TV licence • Telephone charges • You should return accommodation in the same condition as you took it over

  9. Healthcare • The National Health Service (NHS) • Families normally register with a General Practitioner (GP) • Dental treatment also available but you do not normally register • Get to know you local emergency services: NHS Direct, Hospital and Ambulance

  10. Work • Seeking employment in the UK • Seeking employment on an overseas posting • Applying for a National Insurance (NI) Number • Checking employment qualifications and driving licences

  11. Sources of civilian support

  12. Guidance - for newcomers to the UK

  13. Directgov

  14. Citizens Advice Bureau

  15. Emergencies • In an emergency in the UK to get assistance from: • Police • Fire service • Ambulance • Coastguard • Dial 999 or 112 • Explain to the operator which service you need and where it should go to

  16. About the British Army

  17. The British Army

  18. Sources of military support

  19. Your Unit Welfare Office (UWO) UWO Team Briefings Homecoming Events

  20. HIVE

  21. Pastoral Care • The Army has a department called the Royal Army Chaplains Department • Priests or ministers are called padres • Padres provide support to all irrespective of their religion or belief • Civilian Chaplains to the Military support other world faiths

  22. The Army Welfare Service • A welfare service for soldiers and their families • Professionally trained • Confidential • Free • Available locally • Independent of your unit or Regiment

  23. Confidential Support Line • Free telephone and email helpline • Trained councillors • Confidential • Available 7 days a week

  24. Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre • You will be told if something has happened to your serving soldier • The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre works 24 hrs a day 7 days a week all through the year • In an emergency (death in the family, serious injury or crisis) whilst your your soldier is deployed overseas ring the JCCC using the telephone number on the JCCC emergency card

  25. Children’s Education Advisory Service

  26. Guidance -Internet Army Families Federation

  27. ArmyNET • About 125k users • Families need to be registered for an ArmyNET guest account by their serving soldier

  28. Army Home Page on the Internet

  29. About our Regiment

  30. Insert Regiment/Unit slides

  31. About Commonwealth Citizens and their families in the British Army

  32. Commonwealth citizens • Non-UK nationals including Commonwealth citizens have served with great distinction alongside their UK counterparts in two World wars. • Numbers increased from 1998, and now have: • 6,500 serving • 3,000 married or in a civil partnership • Countries with over 500 serving: • Fiji 1,983 • Jamaica 958 • S Africa 740 • Ghana 693 • Zimbabwe 570

  33. Brigade of Gurkhas • Gurkhas associated with the British Army since 1815. • In 1947 (Tri-Partite Agreement), 8 battalions of Gurkhas joined the British Army. Since 1 Jul 97 Gurkhas UK-based. • About 3400 serving. • 2350 are married. • Since Apr 07 after 5 years service Gurkhas may transfer to the wider Army. • Gurkhas after discharge able to retire in the UK and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

  34. Our approach • Commonwealth citizens serve under the same Terms and Conditions of Service (TACOS) as their UK counterparts. • Since 1 Apr 07 Gurkhas also serve on UK TACOS though slightly different to take account of their unique circumstances. • Home Office entry visa conditions and or non-UK citizenship may affect eligibility to some UK state support (particularly for families)

  35. Immigration - UKVisas • Part of UK border control & security • 2000 staff working within British missions overseas • They scrutinise applications from those needing permission to enter the UK • They employ Entry Clearance Officers who process and can interview applicants

  36. Immigration - Borders and Immigration Agency • Policy on immigration, nationality and asylum applications • Border control and entry clearance enforcement • UK Immigration law enforcement (overstayers, illegals and people trafficking) • Powers of arrest and deportation

  37. Final Destination Country of Origin Normal entry process • Potential recruits apply to Recruiting Group, those successful are called forward and pay for own UK visa and flight. • Families apply through UKvisas, may be interviewed, need to demonstrate: • Legally married/civil partnership • Intend to live together • Have met each other • Financial support/accommodation available without recourse to public funds • A UK Exempt Armed Forces Dependants Visa may be grantedfor up to 4 years (£200 per person), passport endorsed or application refused. • Families pay for their own travel to the UK. • Clear entry controls • Soldiers get a free ‘Exempt Immigration Control’ endorsement once they have joined the Army • Families in Germany apply to their units for a Status of Forces Agreement stamp • In UK prior to expiry of current visa apply for an up to 4 year Exempt Armed Forces Dependants visa (£395 per family) • Passport/UK visa renewal normally a personal responsibility, duty travel/visas paid for

  38. UK State benefits -’No recourse to public funds’ • Eligible serving soldiers may claim the following on behalf of their family: • Child Benefit • Working/Child Tax Credit • Sure Start maternity grant • Spouses/Civil Partners with ‘no recourse to public funds’ are normally ineligible for the following • Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance • Housing and Homelessness assistance • Housing and Council tax benefit • A social fund payment, Disability allowance, Carers allowance • This is because their Serving soldier, as sponsor, has agreed to support their family financially during their stay in the UK • Spouses/Civil Partners who have paid enough National Insurance contributions may be eligible to certain benefits and some bilateral arrangements exist between the UK and other counties. Check with Job Centre Plus or the Government Department concerned if unsure • Heath and Education do not count as public funds

  39. UK Nationality in Service • UK Home Secretary announced a change to UK naturalisation policy 22 Nov 06 • Eligible Commonwealth citizens (Regular soldiers) can count their service, at home and abroad, towards the residency criteria for an application for British citizenship whilst still serving • Gurkhas only eligible if transfer out of Brigade of Gurkhas • Accompanying families better off but not normally able to apply at the same time as serving soldier • Note dual nationality implications

  40. Estrangement • Should couples decide to end legal a legal relationship units notify Borders and Immigration Agency (BIA) • Current visas remains valid though some may have no recourse to public funds so units advise those estranging spouse to use the 93 days' Notice to Vacate period to: • Decide if they wish to apply to remain in the UK at the end of their current visa • Ensure that they have sufficient means of support and accommodation if they are not planning to leave the UK • Regularise their families’ immigration status directly with the Borders and Immigration Agency (BIA) or plan on leaving the UK by the end of their current visa period (note taken by BIA of Domestic violence) • and provide the estranged spouse with contact details for BIA and welfare support agencies

  41. Discharge • If already a UK national, normal discharge • Units notify BIA on discharge • Discharge normally takes place in the UK, eligible individuals may apply for ILR (settlement) up to 10 weeks prior to discharge • Immigration control re-imposed by BIA during unit discharge process on both soldier and family • Individuals are notregarded as ‘overstayers’ providing within 28 days of discharge they have applied to regularise their immigration status with the BIA • Like their UK counterparts individuals must plan on being self supporting (normally unable to work or access to public funds until immigration status regularised) • For less than 4 years service, leave to remain is at Home Office discretion but new policy for medical dischargees

  42. Any questions?

  43. Summary • Remember you can always seek assistance from: • Unit Welfare Office • Padre • HIVE • Army Welfare Service • Confidential Support Line • Army Families Federation • Your doctor or general practitioner • I hope this has helped introduce you to the United Kingdom, the British Army and our Regiment • If you found this useful, please tell your friends so they can attend the next one