Former Gurkhas face further delay in UK residency row

December 24th, 2008 - 3:21 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 24 (ANI): Gurkhas, who retired before 1997, would have to face further unacceptable delays before finding out if they will be allowed to settle in the UK, according to a campaign group.

According to a report in the Daily Express, the campaign group, known as the Gurkha Justice Campaign Team, supported by actress Joanna Lumley, believes the Government plans to apply for another three months to consider cases of former Gurkhas who have applied for UK residency.

The team said that the application would be made at a hearing before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal on January 7, 2009.

The Home Office declined to comment on what might be said in the hearing. It previously said all cases would be reviewed by the end of the year.

Campaigners want new measures to give Gurkhas who retired or were discharged from the Army before 1997 the automatic right to settle in the UK.

Currently, only Gurkhas who retired or were discharged from the army after July 1 1997 are eligible to settle in the UK.

In September this year, the High Court ruled that the immigration policy used to exclude pre-1997 retired Gurkhas from the UK was unlawful.

This delay is totally unacceptable. The people have spoken and the Government should listen. It seems unbelievable that we continue to treat former Gurkhas so badly at a time when their sons are laying down their lives on our behalf in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to campaign organiser Peter Carroll.

According to a Home Office spokeswoman, We have always been clear that where there is a compelling case, Gurkha soldiers and their families should be considered for settlement.

We have taken the judgment on board and are determined to get the amended guidance right to ensure it is fair to all Gurkhas. This has involved consultation across Government. Once we have published the guidance, we will review the cases as soon as possible, she told the Daily Express. (ANI)

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