UK may give rights to 36,000 Gurkha soldiers to settle

January 29th, 2009 - 7:12 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 29 (ANI): The British Home Office is likely to give 36,000 Gurkhas, who served in the British Army before 1997, the right to settle in the country with their families.

New settlement rights due to be announced could open the door to 36,000 Gurkhas who served in the British Army before 1997.

Nepal is understood to be concerned that the loss of so many citizens and their army pensions could leave a huge hole in its economy.

The Home Office was forced to take action after a ruling from High Court judges in October that the Government needed to review its policy on whether Gurkhas who had served before 1997 could live in Britain, The Times reported.

Officials say that the forthcoming decision has such far-reaching consequences that concerns have been raised about the continuing recruitment of Gurkhas from Nepal.

Defence officials have warned the Home Office that if the right to live in Britain were extended to every Gurkha who has served in the British Army, Nepal might scrap the 1947 agreement under which its young men have been recruited each year.

Since the tripartite agreement was signed with Nepal and India, the Nepalese economy has relied on income coming into the country from Gurkhas serving with the British Army, the paper reported.

The Home Office has come up with certain criteria for settlement that will keep the numbers down without flouting the judgment of the High Court.

One Whitehall source said: We can still meet what the judges want while keeping the criteria as tight as possible. We have no idea at this stage how many will want to come to live in the UK and how many members of their family they will bring with them.

Gurkhas have fought alongside British soldiers for nearly 200 years 200,000 fought in the world wars and 45,000 have died in action, The Times reported. (ANI)

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