House of Lords written question – answered on 16th July 2009.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government why they decided Gurkha soldiers must have 20 years military service to live in the United Kingdom when the standard length of Army service by Gurkhas is 15 years.

Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism)

On 24 April 2009 the Government published guidance for caseworkers dealing with applications for settlement from Gurkhas who were discharged before 1 July 1997. Under this guidance one of the criteria was that anyone with 20 or more years of service could have settled in the UK.

The 20 years' service criteria recognised exceptional ability and quality of service as well as commitment, in particular from those who worked their way through the ranks and saw their service extended. However, it is not the case that this was the only criterion under which ex-Gurkhas may have qualified to settle under the terms of this guidance.

On 21 May 2009 the Home Secretary announced that any former Gurkha with more than four years' service who had been discharged from the Brigade of Gurkhas before 1 July 1997 would be eligible for settlement in the UK.

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