Skip to main content


Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the basis is for the policy that wives of Gurkha soldiers who hold British overseas passports are refused visas to join their husbands in this country where the soldiers have six months or less to serve. [130179]

[holding answer 16 September 2003]: British overseas citizens do not have right of abode in the United Kingdom and are subject to immigration control. There is no provision within the immigration rules for dependants of members of the armed forces to enter or remain in the United Kingdom. Under a concession outside the rules dependants are normally granted leave for the duration of the principal member's posting, up to a maximum of three years, on conditions permitting employment.Gurkhas are discharged in Nepal and Gurkhas often return to Nepal, with their personal possessions, six months prior to their official discharge in order to undertake pre-retirement courses and take leave. During this time, the basis of any leave in the United Kingdom granted to the dependant wife of such a Gurkha no longer exists, as the Gurkha is no longer in the United Kingdom, and she may be refused entry.An application for a visa to enter the United Kingdom may also be refused for the same reason.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made with the review into policy governing the right of Gurkhas to return to this country after completion of service; and when he expects to report on its findings. [130180]

[holding answer 16 September 2003]: Officials from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate met with officials from the Ministry of Defence on Friday 12 September as part of their review of immigration issues affecting Gurkhas and other foreign and commonwealth personnel in the armed forces. Their discussion included access to settlement, work permits, naturalisation and welfare issues, including those affecting dependants. They are aiming to conclude their review and report their findings by Christmas.