Nepalese Gurkha soldiers' dealings with the British government have taken a new turn.
The British Home Office has said that it would allow 4,300 more Gurkha veterans, who served the British Army before 1997, to settle in the United Kingdom. But the Gurkha Justice Campaign says that the actual number would only be 100 who would meet the residency requirement criteria.
According to the Telegraph, the five requirements for the Gurkha veterans to settle in the U.K. are:
- Three years continuous residence in the UK during or after their service
- Close family in the UK
- A level 1-3 bravery award (including the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross)
- Service of 20 years or more in the Gurkha brigade
- A chronic or long-term medical condition caused by, or aggravated by, service in the brigade
In addition, Gurkhas will normally be allowed to settle in the U.K. if they meet two or more of the following criteria:
- They were previously awarded a UK MoD disability pension but no longer have a chronic medical condition
- A mention in dispatches
- Service of 10 years or a campaign medal for active service in the brigade
According to the BBC, Ciaran McGuinness, a Londonderry solicitor who has won legal battles for two Gurkha veterans to live in the U.K., said he was “disgusted,” by the new rules and claimed the government’s decision as “an absolute joke.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has dubbed the new rules to be fair, but the Gurkhas don't agree.
From the BBC:
Dhan Gurung, the first ex-Gurkha to be elected as a councillor in the UK, said the announcement was "insulting to loyal Gurkhas".
He added: "If they want Gurkha soldiers, they should treat them equally."
There have been continuous changes in the immigration laws for the Gurkhas to settle in the U.K.
From the Telegraph:
The Brigade of Gurkhas have been serving the British Army for almost 200 years, their history dating back to 1815. Their alliance with the British Army dates back to the two World Wars—more than 200,000 Gurkhas have fought the two World Wars and 43,000 have died.There are currently about 3,500 Gurkhas in the Brigade of Gurkhas in the British Army.
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