Gurkhas (Settlement)

Home Department written statement – made on 24th April 2009.

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Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (also in the Home Office), Home Office, Minister of State (also in the Home Office), HM Treasury

In 2004, the right to settle in the United Kingdom was given to Gurkhas who had been discharged from the British Army on or after 1 July 1997. This was the date of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China and the point at which the Brigade of Gurkhas moved their headquarters from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom.

Guidance was issued to immigration case workers on how to consider applications from Gurkhas who had been discharged before 1 July 1997.

In September 2008 the High Court ruled that the policy of using 1 July 1997 as a cut-off date was fair but also found that the guidance used by case workers when making decisions on those discharged before 1997 needed to be much clearer in setting out the factors which were to be given weight in assessing which individuals should be offered settlement in the UK.

The Government fully accepted this judgment. The guidance has now been revised and is available on the UK Border Agency website. In considering changes to the guidance, we have taken on board not only the letter of what the judge said in this case but also the spirit of his judgment. The new guidance will ensure that those who have given outstanding service will be entitled to settle in the UK. In summary, under the terms of the guidance, Gurkhas and their families will be able to come to the UK to settle where they meet one of the following criteria:

Three-years' continuous lawful residence in the UK during or after service;

Close family settled in the UK with whom they enjoy family life within the meaning of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR);

A Level 1-3 Award for gallantry, leadership or bravery for service in the Brigade;

Twenty or more years service in the Brigade;

A chronic-long term medical condition which is attributable to, or was aggravated by, service in the Brigade.

Additionally, discretion will normally be exercised and settlement in the UK granted if two or more of the following criteria are met:

Claimants were previously awarded a UK Ministry of Defence disability pension but no longer have a chronic-long term medical condition attributable to, or aggravated by, service in the Brigade;

Claimants received a Mention in Dispatches (Level 4 Award) for service in the Brigade;

Claimants completed 10 years service in the Brigade or served less than 10 years but received a campaign medal for active service in the Brigade.

We estimate that this guidance will mean that over 4,000 ex-Gurkhas and around 6,000 spouses and children will qualify for settlement rights in the UK. We will be proud to welcome those individuals to the UK in recognition of the outstanding service that they gave. We will work with the Ministry of Defence to ensure that those who might be eligible in Nepal are fully aware of these changes and of the opportunity for settlement.

The Government both recognise and honour the huge contribution that the Brigade of Gurkhas has made, and continues to make, to the Armed Forces. This contribution is chiefly recognised through the arrangements made to support Gurkhas following their discharge. Prior to 2007 the Gurkhas completed their service at the age of 33 and from that time and the rest of their lives they received a pension which allows for a very good standard of living in Nepal. The pension is generous and has been significantly increased over the last decade.

I hope that former Gurkhas and their supporters will work with us to raise awareness of the new guidance and ensure that those eligible to settle in the UK under its terms are aware of that choice.

In line with our commitment to the High Court, we will now reconsider all outstanding appeals by 11 June 2009.

I intend to initiate a review of the impact of the guidance in 12 months' time.

Annotations

mike tanner
Posted on 28 Apr 2009 8:52 am (Report this annotation)

hi,
i worked for the gurkas in 1964/65 in labuan in borneo. we were ferrying them up country to small airstrips in the jungle. this was during the confrontation action with indonesia when sukarno was a naughty boy. i remember one occasion in particular when we had to recover a crashed aircraft to obtain some spares to service other aircraft. they came with us to protect us fom enemy patrols. one minute they were there & next they had melted into the jungle without a sound. it at this time that a then corporal won the vc for beating an ambush, killing all the enemy,then carrying a injured comrade on his back for miles, not realising he was dead. what a lot of people do not realise ,especially the pin striped buffons in whitehall is that on occasions of war very often they are accompanied by their wives. so my vote goes to keep them in england if they want to stay. whitehall lets all the illegal immigrants in, who bleed us dry, but not the gurkas who bravely fought for us. i know cos i was there & got the t shirt.good luck in their campaign & god bless 'em.
mike tanner
ex borneo veteran.

Gary Blackman
Posted on 28 Apr 2009 9:41 am (Report this annotation)

I just don't understand the government's position on this. Perhaps a simplistic view on my part, but they have seemed quite content for many years with allowing hate filled foreigners into this country to spread their vile anti UK messages and to put a huge drain on our welfare system. The Gurkha's, on the other hand, have fought for this country time and again in order to aide the guarantee of freedom which affords our current administration the positions they hold. This is how the Gurkha's are repaid by a grateful nation? This is a disgrace in my opinion.

I hope that the Gurkha's achieve their goal and that the government sees sense.

michael battersby
Posted on 28 Apr 2009 12:57 pm (Report this annotation)

The Cretins in parliament wouldnt know loyalty if it
smacked them in the face.The Gurkhas wer'nt asked to meet special conditions when they fought for this country in all the world wars.They are a proud and loyal people who are being swept into the gutter like rubbish by this government.Round the LEECHES up that are bleeding this country dry,and send them to places like Afganistan and Iraq let them fight and earn the right to live in Britain.This Government has taken the word Great out of this country a long time ago.I vote for the Gurkhas.

Roy Adams
Posted on 28 Apr 2009 1:05 pm (Report this annotation)

I am at a complete loss to understand our Governments
decision to restrict Ex Gurkha's from claiming citizenship in this country.
It makes me ashamed to see how these very brave and loyal people who have fought and died for us are being treated.
We should be addressing the problem of the thousands of illegal immigrants that infest our country and cost us millions and millions of pounds every year.
To treat the Gurkha's in this way is an injustice as well as a disgrace and our Government should hang thier heads in shame.
I wish the Gurkha's success in their campaign and implore everybody to back the campaign.
God Bless The Gurkha's

cheryl mooney
Posted on 28 Apr 2009 6:50 pm (Report this annotation)

let the Gurkha's stay in our country. They deserve to more than most.