There’s something about Gurkhas which just seems to rile British governments. Despite massive support from opposition parties and a huge groundswell of good feeling across society as a whole, Gurkhas always seem to find themselves the losers, whether it’s to do with pensions or settlement rights. And so the cycle continues:
“In September 2008, the High Court ruled that immigration rules denying Gurkhas who retired before 1997 – about 36,000 – an automatic right to stay in the UK were unlawful…”
But the government ignored this, and brought in their own criteria:
“Campaigners have reacted with anger to new rules on the eligibility of Gurkha veterans to live in the UK. The Home Office said that new rules would allow about 4,300 more to settle, but the Gurkha Justice Campaign said it would be just 100.”
*Three years continuous residence in the UK during or after service.
*Close family in the UK.
*A bravery award of level one to three.
*Service of 20 years or more in the Gurkha brigade.
*Chronic or long-term medical condition caused or aggravated by service.
Gurkhas retiring before 1997 have to meet one of these criteria, OR two from the following three:
*Been awarded an MoD disability pension but no longer having a chronic condition.
*Having been mentioned in dispatches.
*10 years’ service or a campaign medal.
On the surface these conditions don’t seem entirely unreasonable. However, as Joanna Lumley points out, only officers tend to serve for twenty years, few if any would have had relatives in the UK, and the only other chance you have got is if you were sufficiently unwell to get a medical/disability pension, or if you performed outstandingly.
For me, the issue seems quite simple. If you sign up to the British armed forces, then you are willing to risk death to protect me and those I love. In my view, you can come and live here for as long as you want.
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Filed in: South Asia