A FIJIAN man fighting for British citizenship is struggling to survive in Britain after putting his life at risk in war-torn countries as a soldier for the country.
Lance Corporal Isimeli Baleiwai is surviving on whatever he saved during his career with the British Army and through assistance from charity.
This was confirmed to The Fiji Times yesterday by Veterans Aid chief executive officer, Wing Commander Dr Hugh Milroy.
While confirming this, Dr Milroy also described the former British Army soldier as a "true son of Fiji and an outstanding example of a soldier."
L/Cpl Baleiwai, who served in the British Army for 13 years, was told he cannot settle in the United Kingdom and must leave the country by August 9.
But he was given discretionary leave earlier this week to stay and appeal against a disciplinary decision by the British Army, which hindered his citizenship application.
Married to a British woman and with two British children, he applied for citizenship in March this year as he was leaving the army in June, which he eventually did.
Dr Milroy said the United Kingdom Border Agency rejected the soldier's application as he has faced disciplinary action for fighting with a colleague in 2010.
"The army's internal disciplinary issues are put as criminal offences and it will have a significant effect on Fijian soldiers, who make up the bulk of soldiers from Commonwealth countries," he said.
"It's a significant problem. Soldiers get into problems and they have internal discipline but they shouldn't be punished twice.
"Baleiwai served in five operational tours including to Afghanistan and Iraq and to add insult, applicants who are appealing can't work and have no access to benefits.
"I'm currently feeding Fijian children in Woolwich. We have been working at this for some years now and have supported many Fijians who struggled to settle in the UK."
Dr Milroy said L/Cpl Baleiwai was surviving on whatever little he saved during his 13-year career with the army and what he gets from charity. He said Veterans Aid has been assisting L/Cpl Baleiwai and soldiers from other Commonwealth countries who are in a similar situation.
"The appeal process could take as long as 18 months and people could starve because they can't work and have no access to other benefits during this time. Baleiwai came here to better his life, he put his life at risk for Britain and giving double punishment is destroying the life of his family and other Commonwealth soldiers."
Dr Milroy said the people of Fiji should stand up and raise their concerns with the British Prime Minister on how their people were being treated.
"I stood up because this is injustice but I can tell you that we have a great deal of support at the highest levels in the United Kingdom," he said.