Gurkhas win victory!


by Sunny
29th January, 2009 at 3:06 am    

Finally! The home office has made a u-turn for fairness. I doubt the bigots from MigrationWatch would be happy.

Thousands more Gurkha soldiers and their families will be given the right to settle in Britain under a new policy to be announced by the Home Office.

New settlement rights due to be announced could open the door to 36,000 Gurkhas who served in the British Army before 1997. Nepal is understood to be concerned that the loss of so many citizens and their army pensions could leave a huge hole in its economy.


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  1. douglas clark — on 29th January, 2009 at 6:30 am  

    Hurrah!

    Fuck migration watch.

  2. platinum786 — on 29th January, 2009 at 9:18 am  

    I am really pleased for these guys. They may be mercenaries who fight for the British army, but I’m sure nobody does that kind of stuff for fun. They deserve citizenship.

  3. Rumbold — on 29th January, 2009 at 10:02 am  

    Excellent news. And as a bonus, it seems to have annoyed the Maoists, who don’t like Gurkhas being recruited by the British, despite the money they send home.

  4. persephone — on 29th January, 2009 at 10:19 am  

    I am very happy at this decision.

    Its the timing that gives me cause to ask:

    With a recession on our doorstep am wondering what settlement rights mean for the uk economy for eg will they have to be put in govt funded housing, reliant upon welfare etc once they arrive or are they self funding from their pensions?

  5. billericaydicky — on 29th January, 2009 at 10:46 am  

    Platinum786.

    The Ghurkas are not mercenaries, they take the same pledge of loyalty to the Crown as I and every other member of the armed forces did and have been under the Crown since 1820.

    When 1/7 Ghurka where deployed during the Falklands campaign the Argentine government complained to the UN that Britain was deploying mecenaries, the complaint was rejected.

    The regiments are a part of the Indian and British armies and competition to get in fierce. They have also won more Victoria Crosses than any other regiment.

    What the veterans are asking for is the right to come here for medical treatment. One of the most contentious cases was that of Ghurka who was so badly wounded at the final assault on Port Stanley that his spine was exposed. He survived on blood from British soldiers and skin grafts from other Ghurkas.

    I think these cases are very different from the ones that Migration Watch highlight which are fuelling the BNP. Incidently I have never come across any white person no matter how extreme their views on race and immigration who have anything but the utmost respect for the Ghurkas so watch out. Ayo Ghurkali, the Ghurkas are upon you.

  6. douglas clark — on 29th January, 2009 at 10:50 am  

    persephone,

    Dunno about the timing. This has been a long drawn out campaign, led by the amazing Joanna Lumley.

    Hurrah!

    Again.

  7. Beavis — on 29th January, 2009 at 10:56 am  

    Great news indeed

  8. persephone — on 29th January, 2009 at 11:00 am  

    Douglas Clark

    I know I do feel a bit mean about mentioning timing (by that I mean it coming with a reccesion) since the gurkha’s were fighting & putting their lives at risk regardless of other factors.

    Agreed, I saw Joanna Lumley interviewed on this several times & she did a good job

  9. platinum786 — on 29th January, 2009 at 11:26 am  

    Thanks for the info Billy, i thought they were guns for hire, like Black Water of the french foreign legion.

  10. Trofim — on 29th January, 2009 at 11:47 am  

    Butterflies and Wheels has a good definition of a bigot, along the lines of “someone who believes strongly in something I don’t believe in”.

  11. MaidMarian — on 29th January, 2009 at 12:55 pm  

    billericaydickey – Agreed.

    It’s a classic example of the dangers of regarding, ‘immigrants,’ as a single homogenous category. On the face of it at least, there is no doubt that these people are in a specific category.

    What MigrationWatch are doing is cheap spin and they are being very selective.

  12. sonia — on 29th January, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

    persephone, i doubt it means anything more than the right to a passport.

    then i daresay they become eligible for recourse to public funds as any other citizen, means-tested as per normal.

  13. sonia — on 29th January, 2009 at 3:42 pm  

    and prob. “settlement” doesn’t even mean nationality – again it could be they are given the right to indefinite leave.

    “The claimants in effect assert that Crown service is itself a sufficient tie with the UK. But this has never been British immigration policy.”

    this from a guardian article in 2008 and mentioning ‘settlement visas’ and indefinite leave to remain.

  14. Vikrant — on 29th January, 2009 at 3:55 pm  

    and prob. “settlement” doesn’t even mean nationality – again it could be they are given the right to indefinite leave.

    But isn’t the indefinite leave as good as citizenship? Afterall you can vote in elections (or is it just for Commonwealth citizens?) and hold public office on that. Plus you can apply for citizenship 1 year after you get your indefinite innit?

  15. persephone — on 29th January, 2009 at 3:59 pm  

    yeah, I think it can lead to full citizenship ultimately which was why I raised it. That’s not to say that anyone who has served in The British Army should not have a right to citizenship. Its just that when I saw the figure numbers of gurkhas it made me wonder if UK can cope with it all during a recession

  16. sonia — on 29th January, 2009 at 4:07 pm  

    persephone it only leads to full citizenship ultimately in certain cases. Depends on what your grounds are.

    But re: your concerns re: recession -these guys work for a living – that’s the whole point. and their “jobs” aren’t about to go away. they’re unlikely to suddenly want to stop -especially since the dole is hardly an attractive option.

  17. sonia — on 29th January, 2009 at 4:08 pm  

    But i am interested how immigration and welfare are so intimately connected in people’s minds. any citizen here can apply for council housing – but lists are already so long, its not going to help you much. especially if you come from what’s considered a well-off background, you prob. don’t even know how to go about it. Why people assume anyone new into the system, is going to queer the pitch, more than some new bod born here, is something i can’t quite understand.

  18. sonia — on 29th January, 2009 at 4:14 pm  

    nope vikrant, indefinite leave means you are still subject to immigration control.

    citizenship means you aren’t.

    and there are some key differences. that is if you want to be a global traveller i.e. if you leave in between and go somewhere else, when you come back, you may have to show ‘ties’ all over again. as long as you stay put in one place, its not too bad. and there is the issue of voting, of course, depending on your nationality, you may be able to vote anyway (e.g. if you are a commonwealth citizen) but if you aren’t – then you can’t vote.

    also about stuff like whether you count as ‘overseas’ for the purposes of tuition fees etc. etc.

    there’s a whole load of stuff.

  19. douglas clark — on 29th January, 2009 at 4:25 pm  

    Sonia @ 18,

    What a complete waste of time and money all that must be! Just give folk citizenship, ffs.

  20. justforfun — on 29th January, 2009 at 5:17 pm  

    http://www.nepalitimes.com.np/issue/2008/09/19/International/15237

    Read the second half – ‘Drying Up’

    …Since the new terms and conditions came in two years ago, allowing citizenship in Britain, Gurkha remittances to Nepal have been reduced by 97 per cent

    I don’t know if this article is scaremongering but it lays out the other side of the coin and perhaps the goose that lays the golden egg may now have been strangled, because eventually the new Nepal government might call a halt to the agreement with Britain, seeing it is just a brain drain with no repatriation of wealth to Nepal.

    justforfun

  21. Vikrant — on 29th January, 2009 at 5:21 pm  

    the new Nepal government might call a halt to the agreement with Britain, seeing it is just a brain drain with no repatriation of wealth to Nepal.

    Well from personal experience half the Gurkhas in Sandhurst have Indian passports! So they’ll just keep on recruiting from Darjeeling. Plus the agreement is between UK, Nepal AND India. And halting it would mean halting the one with India as well. Seeing that Gurkhas make up to 10% of the Indian army, i daresay India wont be pleased!

  22. justforfun — on 29th January, 2009 at 5:38 pm  

    From memory of the 100,000 odd Gurkhas in the Indian Army only about half are Nepali Gurhkas. The rest are home grown :-) – so the guys at Sandhurst must have slipped the border to recruit :-)

    I’m not sure what the real position of the Indian Army is with regards to Gurkha recruitments. The official line will be if it stops, the Indian Army will not be effected because there are plenty of Indian Gurkhas, but I can’t immagine they would be happy loosing so many acclimatized mountain troops. So if the Tri -partite agreement has now in effect been torn up, India will probably bend over backwards to align its interests with Nepal to keep its recruiting options open and Britain may lose the ability to recruit the 200 hundred recruits that get into the British Army, and because Nepal is not a Commonwealth country, there is no backdoor route as yet for them to join on an individual basis.

    justforfun

  23. Cyburn — on 29th January, 2009 at 5:40 pm  

    Even the Daily Mail seem to be somewhat supportive of the Gurkhas, which is shocking.

  24. comrade — on 29th January, 2009 at 7:50 pm  

    The Ghurkas are not mercenaries, they take the same pledge of loyalty to the Crown as I and every other member of the armed forces did and have been under the Crown since 1820.

    Wasn’t it the Ghurka Rifles, under the commend of General Dyer who carried out the Jallianwala Bagh Masscre in 1919 in Indian, no wonder they are loved by the British. Loyalty to the Crown, what about loyalty to ones own country.

    If these guys are willing to die for the Crown, I don’t see why they shoulden’t have the right of settlement in the UK.

  25. comrade — on 29th January, 2009 at 7:50 pm  

    The Ghurkas are not mercenaries, they take the same pledge of loyalty to the Crown as I and every other member of the armed forces did and have been under the Crown since 1820.

    Wasn’t it the Ghurka Rifles, under the commend of General Dyer who carried out the Jallianwala Bagh Masscre in 1919 in Indian, no wonder they are loved by the British. Loyalty to the Crown, what about loyalty to ones own country.

    If these guys are willing to die for the Crown, I don’t see why they shoulden’t have the right of settlement in the UK.

  26. SE — on 29th January, 2009 at 11:02 pm  

    “Butterflies and Wheels has a good definition of a bigot, along the lines of “someone who believes strongly in something I don’t believe in”.”

    You sick loser.

  27. persephone — on 30th January, 2009 at 12:24 am  

    Sonia @ 16

    Do the settlement rights include those married bringing their spouse & children?

    Plus what happens if single gurkhas want to bring a fiance from abroad in the future?

    Y’see, with indefinite leave, I think it leads to more than just the 36,000 applicable gurkha’s to house in the UK

  28. Vikrant — on 30th January, 2009 at 1:50 am  

    @sonia: Funny for much of my time in the UK, i was on an indefinite. My mum payed her taxes, voted in elections (though our weekend holidays ended up in Geneva rather than Paris since that is the only country which lets in indefinites without a visa). Then when i finally got a British passport, my family moved to the US. British immigration control is much better i guess than stupid America where i need my University to sign my bleeding I-20 whenever i decide to go take a piss in Canada!

  29. persephone — on 30th January, 2009 at 10:36 am  

    Sonia @ 17

    If there was a choice I would rather my tax funded the gurkha’s rather than resident long term professional dolers who know how to play the system w/t contributing anything back.

    But I have also met new entrants who know much more than me about the various types of benefits. Local job plus branches give a list of the range of benefits to claim so its not that difficult if that way minded.

    Some of the unrest and links b/n immigration and welfare can be due to discussions I have heard at work:

    A lot of working people don’t send their kids to state schools and have company medical insurance so do not use the nhs. So they are left wondering as to who benefits from their 40% tax deductions – they perceive ‘others’ benefit from it & certain media/ groups play on this and build an association that the ‘others’ are immigrants w/t clarifying that a lot of immigrants do work. Now that a lot of those higher rate tax payers are being made redundant they realise they do not benefit from the dole & other associated benefits because they may have some savings (which they were & still are taxed on) – someone told me that they are even taxed on jobseekers allowance which is a nominal amount anyway?

    Therein lies the rub. Immigrants do not largely enter the UK with funds (please correct me here if otherwise) and can then access more benefits without a prior tax track record.

  30. sonia — on 30th January, 2009 at 12:03 pm  

    well it depends what you mean by an “immigrant” persephone – most “immigration” does not happen at the push of a button any more – e.g. an American investment banker may come here, work for 4 years on a work permit, decides he she wants to stay, applies for some extension on some grounds or other, and so on and so forth. Perhaps you don’t know what i’m talking about – but rarely does anyone arrive from somewhere else, and get the kind of immigration status you need to have recourse to public funds.

    Work permits certainly don’t allow you recourse to public funds. and everyone is on a different status – there is no ‘one’ blanket status – unless when you say immigrant – you mean all people who weren’t born here etc. who are now somehow british citizens. if that’s what you mean, then obviously that is a totally different case. Are you then talking about the rights of new citizens to benefits, versus the rights of old citizens.

    see, the term ‘immigrant’ means very different things to different people. as far as the govt. is concerned, when they say ‘immigration’ – there are many different situations and categories of people – who are subject to immigration ‘control’. e.g. students, people on various kinds of visas, all the way up to indefinite leave to remain. all those various categories have differing amount of restrictions.

  31. persephone — on 30th January, 2009 at 12:23 pm  

    Sonia, I said how I saw things were being perceived & fueled by the media/certain groups. People are not differentiating or even rationalising about this in the terms you are talking about because they may not have been through the immigration process themselves.

    We may not agree with these perceptions & they are largely erroneous but nonetheless they are still there, even with professionals.

    And even where the older generation of asians are concerned, those who have been through the immigration mill, I sometimes hear them complain about somalian ‘immigrants’ & laugh to myself because they say the types of things that would have been said about them.

    There seems to have been a hierachy built up, among the british citizens (once immigrants themselves) based upon how long they have been here.

    Unfortuately, immigrants are perceived as an amorphous entity, usually denoted by race

  32. buddy — on 2nd February, 2009 at 3:18 am  

    This screws up any chance of Civil Society in Nepal then!

  33. Richard Holland — on 24th April, 2009 at 2:45 pm  

    How ridiculous to try to keep Ghurkas out of our island when we have given them good pensions. Why let them take all that money to Nepal to feed into their economy when we can let them spend their money here. traditionally they have taken their wealth back to their local communities and provided employment for their neighbours. We must clearly put a stop to that liberal thinking now that we need all the employment we can get in Britain.

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