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Statement on Gurkhas right to settle in the UK

24 April 2009

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has released a statement announcing that the government will use new criteria to consider applications from former members of the Brigade of Gurkhas who want to settle in the UK.

Mr 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.'

Read more about the changes on the UK Border Agency website (new window)

Who are the Gurkhas?

Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years. The soldiers are hand-picked from a recruitment contest in Nepal to win the right to join. They have fought for the British all over the world, including both of the world wars. They serve in a variety of roles, mainly in the infantry but also as engineers, logisticians and signals specialists. The name 'Gurkha' comes from the hill town of Gorkha, from which the Nepalese kingdom had expanded.


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