The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced new criteria Indefinite Leave to Remain applications from former members of the Brigade of Gurkhas who want to settle in the UK.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
“This guidance honours the service, commitment and gallantry of those who served with the Gurkhas brigade.
“Where there are strong reasons, there has been scope for Gurkhas who retired prior to July 1997 to apply to settle in the UK. In fact, because of rules brought in by the Government, we have already welcomed around 6,000 Gurkhas and family members to Britain.
“Now, another 10,000 Gurkhas and family members will be able to benefit from our revised guidance.
“We will work with the Ministry of Defence to actively inform those who might be eligible in Nepal of these changes.
“I intend to initiate a review of the impact of the guidance in 12 months time.”
You can download a factsheet setting out the new criteria from UKBA website.
The UK Government has been heavily criticised for its treatment of soldiers from the famous British Army regiment.
Gurkhas, many of whom had lived in the UK for many years, had to take their case all the way to the High Court where a Judge ordered the Government to review its immigration policy as the rules were unfair and unlawful.
Lawyers battling for the Gurkhas said they believed only around 100 would benefit.
Hundreds of former rank-and-file soldiers will face deportation while thousands more will be barred from entering the country.
Under the new guidelines, former Gurkhas must prove they have either served more than 20 years or have won one of the top four medals for gallantry: the Victoria Cross; the Distinguished Service Order; the Distinguished Conduct Medal; or the Military Cross.
They can also claim permanent residency (Indefinite Leave to Remain/ILR) if they can prove they have lived in Britain legally for a minimum of three years, have close family ties or have a chronic medical condition which was caused or aggravated by their Army service.
Campaigner Joanna Lumley fought back tears as she spoke of the Government’s ‘betrayal’ of the veterans.
She said: ‘
These new rules reveal an absolute contempt for the ordinary Gurkha who has served this country bravely and without complaint.’
Under previous rules, Gurkhas who retired before 1997 had to prove they had ‘strong ties’ to Britain and thousands were rejected, including Victoria Cross holders.
The judge had ordered action by the beginning of this year. But four months late, ministers yesterday sparked a fresh wave of condemnation from across the political and military spectrum with their new set of restrictive criteria. Campaigners argued that it was virtually impossible.
If you need help with sponsorship, immigration advice or an appeal against a refusal, please email: