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Gurkhas: Immigration

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which Gurkha welfare organisations the Cross-Departmental Working Group on Gurkha settlement policy has consulted; (324750)

(2) on how many occasions the Cross-Departmental Working Group on Gurkha settlement policy has met;

(3) who leads the Cross-Departmental Working Group on Gurkha settlement policy.

The Cross-Departmental Working Group was set up following the announcement on 21 May 2009 of the new immigration rules for retired Gurkhas. It has met formally on three occasions, twice in 2009 and once so far this year. The working group is jointly chaired by the Command Secretary, Headquarters Land Forces and the Deputy Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency. The Ministry of Defence leads across Government on Gurkha settlement issues, although most work is conducted multilaterally between Government Departments, local authorities, pressure groups and other agencies.

The working group has consulted with a wide range of welfare organisations in the course of its work, including the main service charities: the Gurkha Welfare Trust; the Royal British Legion; ABF The Soldiers' Charity; the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association; and Veterans Aid. Informal consultations and briefings have also been held with the ex-Gurkha servicemen's organisation in the UK and in Nepal, including: the British Gurkha Welfare Society; the Regimental Associations Nepal; the Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen's Organisation; the United British Gurkhas Ex-Servicemen's Association Nepal; the Gurkha United Forum; and the Nepal Ex-Servicemen's Association.