A FIJIAN soldier, who served in the British Army for nine years and fought in Iraq and Afghanistan has been left destitute in Edinburgh without legal leave to remain.

Semesa Maiyale – known to his friends as Sam – was recruited by the British Army from Fiji, part of the Commonweath, in 2003 and was told that he if he served four years, he would have the right to stay in the UK.

But when he was discharged in 2012, his paperwork was not properly completed and his own application, made later under Human Rights grounds, was rejected by the Home Office.

He now falls outwith the eligibility for settlement as a discharged member of the Armed Forces as he left more than two years ago and is living in legal limbo despite rules allowing all Commonwealth citizens, who have served four years in the army, indefinite leave to remain.

He has no right to work, cannot claim benefits or housing and is supported by his partner, a nursery nurse who is now in debt due to the pressure of providing for both of them.

Maiyale, who joined the King's Own Scottish Border's battalion and then the Royal Regiment of Scotland and took part in tours of Helmand Province in Afghanistan and Basra in Iraq, as well as the Falklands and Northern Ireland, is now homeless and forced to sign off at his local police station every fortnight.

He said: "I was recruited in Fiji when I was just 22. It got me a job. But it was tough going to Iraq and Afghanistan; it was scary. As far as I was concerned though I would still be entitled to citizenship. I had been living in Edinburgh for nine years.

"I applied for leave to remain but they kept on asking for evidence, and then it was rejected. I can't put into words how that made me feel. I feel betrayed, that I was brought here on false promises. I feel like I've been used. I'm only getting by with the help of my girlfriend; she pays for food, rent, everything. It's very frustrating."

Forced to leave their bedsit after Maiyale was violently attacked by a fellow resident, the couple who are living in homeless accommodation have been told Maiyale will need to pay his way to remain there because of his immigration status.

His MP Joanna Cherry, SNP spokeswoman for Justice and Home Affairs, is now calling on the Home Office to reverse its decision and grant him leave to remain.

She said Maiyale's situation was "far from unique" and that more needed to be done to address the issue. In recent years several former Commonwealth soldiers have found themselves facing deportation.

She said: "Any situation where service men and woman are denied the right to remain and the right to work in their country of service is deeply concerning and must be very closely scrutinised.

"The treatment of my constituent, Sam Maiyale, as well cases such as that of Filimone Lacanivalu and Bale Baleiwai highlight the need for the Home Office to help not hinder foreign and commonwealth soldiers in their post-service lives.

"It is crucial that the circumstances of this case, which are unfortunately not unique to Sam, do not go unnoticed."

Dr Hugh Milroy, chief executive with Veteran's Aid, said that the charity it had worked closely with the Home Office in recent years to highlight the issue leading to a change in the rules which meant those all veterans discharged should be allowed to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. This can now be done in advance of leaving the army.

However, he said Veteran's Aid continued to work with former soldiers on a weekly basis, particular those whose cases pre-dated 2013, when the rules changed. The issue, he says remains a "political hot potato".

He added: "It can be very complex. The army could do more to support people and provide more of a hand-holding service, as well as looking at lowering the cost, which can be prohibitive when you are on a solider's wage." Currently the cost of applying for leave to remain is about £1,500.

A spokesman for the Home Office, said: "All applications for leave to remain in the UK are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.”

The British Army declined to comment.