Will the New National Service Plan Affect Visa Holders in the UK

Will the New National Service Plan Affect Visa Holders in the UK?

Ahead of the United Kingdom’s upcoming general election on 4th July 2024, the conservative party has outlined a new national service plan which will see 18-year-olds and above be required to participate in national service to serve their country.

The plan has sparked many questions and controversies since its introduction by Rishi Sunak. Many young people feel it should be their choice to participate in national service, rather than a requirement. As more details emerge, a clearer insight into the national service plan is coming to light.

Whilst the plan may be seen as beneficial by some, what does it mean for those who have permission to stay in the United Kingdom on a visa? How will the newly proposed national service plan affect visa holders and their entitlement in the United Kingdom?

Synergy Immigration Solutions understands the complex and sensitive nature of immigration matters, which is why our friendly team are always on hand to help. Call us today on 02045385124.

What is the National Service Plan?

National service refers to volunteering to assist your country either in a military capacity or by volunteering to participate in work for a public service such as the NHS. The new national service plan does not follow a conscription model, but instead will introduce a new law requiring 18 year olds to participate in one of two options.

Military Training Scheme

The military training scheme will require young people to enroll and complete 12 months of military training where young people have the opportunity to gain new skills in areas such as cyber security, civil response operations, and logistics.

In previous years, many young men were required to enroll in the military service and remain on the reserves list for up 4 years after and could be called to fight at any point. This time around, the scheme offers more freedom and choice to young people.

Community Volunteering Scheme

As an alternative to the military training scheme, young people can opt to spend 12 months volunteering with a public scheme such as the NHS, ambulance, fire, search, and rescue services. Presence would be required over one weekend every month, totaling 25 days of unpaid work experience.

The voluntary scheme will bring a sense of purpose to young people and provide valuable work experience to include on their CVs.

Are Visa Holders Eligible to Participate?

Some visa holders in the United Kingdom, particularly those who hold student visas and graduate visas, may be required to participate in the new national service plan. If eligible, visa holders have the opportunity to gain skills and work experience across a broad range of public sectors, increasing their employability and relations with the United Kingdom.

It is not definite that each visa category will be eligible for the national service scheme, this will depend on each person’s personal circumstances and their type of visa. Those who work in the United Kingdom through sponsorship and a worker visa may be less likely to reach the eligibility requirements due to their age or worker status.

When Would the National Service Scheme Begin?

When Would the National Service Scheme Begin?

The plan is a brief outline at present as apposed to a full plan. Depending on their success in the upcoming general election, the conservative party has plans to implement a military test strategy in 2025, with a full scheme likely to launch as late as 2029.

With this in mind, we can assume that the plans are currently provisional depending on election results, meaning there are no firm dates or plans in place just yet.

Those who turn 18 before these dates are unlikely to have to participate in national service.

What Happens if You Don’t Take Part?

It is thought that there will be no severe punishment for not taking part in national service, such as going to prison, however, it is said that it will be a legal requirement for those eligible to participate.

At the present moment, details on the implications have not been confirmed, however, prison will not be an option. It is more wise to speculate something such as a significant fine.

Benefits of National Service for Visa Holders

For visa holders who may be eligible to partake in national service schemes across the United Kingdom, there could be many benefits:

  • Work experience- working in public sectors such as the NHS and the military will provide visa holders with a series of valuable work skills by boosting their career prospects and opportunities.
  • Visa extension- if public service is required in the United Kingdom, it may be an option for individuals’ visas to be extended to accommodate service.
  • An option for permanent residency- after 5 years, foreign nationals may become eligible for permanent residency in the United Kingdom, By participating in national service, international citizens are showing a commitment to the UK society and economy.
  • Opportunities to learn about British culture- through working in the UK, visa holders can learn more about the United Kingdom culture.

How Will I Know If I Am Eligible?

Due to the changing nature of visa and immigration policies in the United Kingdom, visa holders should stay informed by keeping up to date with legislation and policies regarding their rights and compliance whilst living in the United Kingdom.

If you are unsure, you can reach out to an Immigration Adviser at Synergy Immigration Solutions who will be able to advise you of your options during this uncertain time.

I Am Not Already A Visa Holder, How Can I Apply?

If you do not already hold a visa in the United Kingdom and you wish to do so, you must at first discover the type of visa that most suits your needs and requirements. Some of the visa options include:

Each visa type will have different eligibility requirements, it is important to understand these before you apply.

Most visa applications will require you to apply online using the government website where you will be required to submit an application along with a fixed application fee. In addition, as part of the application process, you will be required to submit documents to prove your nationality and identity, these will likely include valid travel documents.

Once your application has been submitted, it will take some time to be processed by the Home Office. When a decision has been made, you will be notified in due course.

If your application has been declined you may have an option to appeal your application for reconsideration.

Synergy Immigration Solutions

Synergy Immigration Solutions

At Synergy Immigration Solutions, we are a dedicated team of immigration experts with our clients at the heart of everything we do. Whether you require assistance with an application or you wish to appeal a denied application, our team of Advisors can assist you to the best possible outcome.

We are understanding when it comes to immigration matters and we are aware of the complexity and sensitivity of some cases. We deal with each client on an individual basis to provide the very best services to each case.

For more information on how we can help you, contact us today for a no-obligation chat with our team.