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Gurkhas given right to settle in the UK

21 May 2009

Any Gurkhas who served in the British Army for four years may now stay in the country.

Previously, not all Gurkhas who served in the Army before 1997 had the right to live in the UK.

Under the new policy, any Gurkha can apply to settle in the UK.
The revised policy refers specifically to Gurkhas who retired before 1 July 1997, as those who retired after that date were already eligible to apply for settlement.

Gurkhas are welcome

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the country would now welcome any Gurkha with four years of British military service.

‘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,' she said.
‘We respect the will of the House of Commons on this issue, and that is why I have now announced a new policy.'

Who are the Gurkhas?

Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years. The soldiers compete in a recruitment contest in Nepal to win the right to join.

In the Army they serve in a variety of roles, mainly in the infantry but also as engineers, logisticians and signals specialists. They have fought for the British all over the world, including in both world wars.

The name 'Gurkha' comes from the hill town of Gorkha, from which the Nepalese kingdom grew.

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