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Immigration: Gurkhas

Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) legal status and (b) residency rights Gurkhas who do not qualify to settle in the UK but who are not subject to immediate deportation have. (273542)

On 21 May 2009 the Home Secretary announced a revised policy for former members of the Brigade of Gurkhas who had been discharged prior to 1 July 1997. Under the terms of this policy any former Gurkha with more than four years’ service who had been discharged from the Brigade of Gurkhas before 1 July 1997 would be eligible for settlement in the UK.

All Gurkhas who meet the criteria and who wish to settle in the United Kingdom will be eligible to do so unless there are particular reasons for excluding an individual from settlement, for example criminality. We therefore cannot foresee circumstances in which ex Gurkhas in the UK do not meet the criteria but are not subject to immediate administrative removal or deportation. If this unlikely situation did arise the legal status and residency rights of the individual would be considered on a case by case basis.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what potentially analogous categories of immigrant his Department considered when formulating its policy on the rights of residence of Gurkhas; and what elements of the Government’s policy on such rights of residence would apply to each such category. (276908)

When formulating the policy on the settlement rights of former Gurkhas it was important to find a package which met the needs of the Gurkhas, which was affordable and was consistent with our broader immigration policies. This included consideration of the settlement rules for Commonwealth soldiers, the policies on other immigration categories that provide a route to settlement, the time limits on applications, dependants and the UK Government’s wider responsibilities under the Human Rights Act.