Gurkha veterans win hard fought battle for UK residency
In a major victory, the British Government has allowed those Gurkhas who retired prior to July 1, 1997 and completed four years service can apply will be allowed to settle down in the UK with their spouses and dependent children.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith made the announcement in the House of Commons on Thursday.
The new policy refers specifically to those around 36,000 Gurkhas who retired before July 1, 1997. Those who retired after July 1, 1997 are already eligible to apply for settlement under the current immigration rules.
Smith said, “Generations of Gurkhas have served the United Kingdom with great courage, sacrifice and distinction and they continue to make a vital and valued contribution to our operations around the world.”
The government had tried to block residency of the Gurkhas who left before 1997 last month. But all party MPs joined to vote by 267 to 246 for a Lib Dem motion offering all Gurkhas equal right of residence, with the Tories and 27 Labour rebels backing it.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg called the government's position “shameful”.