Gurkha Plan - 'A Betrayal'

April 28, 2009 2:57 PM

Local MP, Tom Brake, has labelled the Government's settlement plan for retired Gurkhas 'a betrayal of those who have been prepared to fight and die for our country'.

The Government has claimed that the new settlement plan will allow 4,300 more Gurkhas to settle in the UK. However, the Gurkha Justice Campaign has said that restrictions within the new plan will allow only a tiny minority of former soldiers to stay in the UK.

The Gurkhas have seen combat all over the world as part of the British Army, 200,000 fought in the two world wars and 45,000 are believed to have lost their lives fighting for Britain.

The Government stated that Gurkhas who retired before 1997 would not be eligible to come to the UK directly and would have to apply for residency through the normal system. This is because until 1997 the regiment base was in Hong Kong, therefore they were likely not to have strong residential ties with the UK.

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.

Commenting on the new settlement plan Tom Brake said, 'I believe that the UK owes a large amount of gratitude to the Gurkhas who have fought for our country, especially the ones who fought in the two world wars, most of whom will have retired before 1997.'

'It is disappointing that the Government is trying to avoid the issue and reach a 'settlement' that does not express the appreciation of the British people for their help.'

Visit www.gurkhajustice.org.uk for more information about the Gurkha Justice Campaign.

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