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Immigration: Gurkhas

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in the UK Border Agency were working on cases involving Gurkhas on (a) 1 January 2009 and (b) 1 May 2009; and if he will make a statement. (273741)

Applications for settlement from former Gurkhas are considered by caseworkers in the UK and overseas (primarily in New Delhi).

On 1 January 2009 no caseworkers were actively engaged in considering applications from Gurkhas discharged before 1 July 1997. Consideration of applications was suspended while the guidance was reviewed.

While the applications from Gurkhas who retired before 1 July 1997 were on hold caseworkers in the UK and overseas continued to deal with applications from those discharged after 1 July 1997. No specific casework resource was dedicated to the consideration of these cases. They were dealt with in the normal stream of settlement applications.

New guidance was published on 24 April 2009 and decision making resumed after its publication. Teams were constituted and ready before 1 May 2009. In New Delhi three Entry Clearance Officers and one Entry Clearance Manager were ready to begin work. In the UK 27 caseworkers were dedicated to review the pending cases.