Gurkhas 'face further delays'
The Press Association
Dec 23, 2008
Gurkhas who retired before 1997 face further “unacceptable” delays before finding out if they will be allowed to settle in the UK, a campaign group has said.
The Gurkha Justice Campaign Team, supported by actress Joanna Lumley, believes the Government plans to apply for another three months to consider cases.
It said the application will be made at a hearing before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal on January 7.
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 here.
In September, the High Court ruled that the immigration policy used to exclude pre-1997 retired Gurkhas from the UK was unlawful.
Campaign organiser Peter Carroll said: “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.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “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.”