Is the government being unfair to Gurkhas?

April 24, 2009

Nepalese Gurkhas have a long and justifiably proud history of serving alongside Britain — Gurkha units fought with the East India Company in India as early as 1817. Over the years, the Gurkhas have developed a reputation for tenacity, bravery and dogged loyalty to their adopted army.

But when it comes to giving something back once they have finished their military service, Britain has something of a mixed track-record on the Gurkhas and has even been accused of disloyalty.

On Friday, the government announced new guidelines for Gurkhas looking to settle in Britain, including the provision that those who served before 1997 must have done at least 20 years service, must have been mentioned in dispatches and/or suffered injuries during combat if they are to meet the residency requirements.

Campaigners for Gurkha rights have denounced the new guidelines calling them a disgrace and an “act of treachery” against the men, saying only around 100 of the 36, 000 veterans would qualify.  The government says campaigners have missed the point, arguing that the new guidelines will allow more Gurkhas — up to 4, 000 — to come and settle in Britain.

It fears that without any restrictions, some 100, 000 Gurkhas and family members would apply to settle and that it would set a precedent for thousands more colonial UK soldiers to apply.

What do you think? Is the government unfairly restricting Gurkha migration and setting up a double standard for those who served before 1997 and those who have served since, or should the soldiers be forced to retire where they come from — Nepal — despite dedicating much of their lives to fighting for Britain?


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If there are 36,000 Gurkha Veterans that qualify to be residents in UK ,due to their Service to this Country, then allow them to come here, then restrict the number of East Europeans allowed into UK Who have contributed nothing to this Country.
Ray Rounce ( ex RAF 1943-1946)

Posted by ray rounce | Report as abusive

The Government is being totally unfair to the Gurkhas. The Government will let into the country any old riffraff including possible terrorists, and so called students, but refuse the very people who have done great work for the country, given their lives, served the Queen and the people of this country – the Gurkhas. They are a proud people and do not ask for much, they deserve to be allowed residency in the UK. That Minister for Immigration who was interviewed on TV is a disgrace, and his attitude during the interview was apalling, he should be kicked out of the job.

Posted by Colin Lee | Report as abusive

Absolutely disgraceful. Makes me ashamed to be British.
These honourable people have done Great Britain tremendous service and we should be proud to welcome them into our country.
When I consider the massive numbers of non contributory immigrants that are given handout after handout it makes me sick.
One Gurkha has more loyalty and backbone than the whole of the Government put together.
Brown and his rag tag bunch of also rans are not fit to breath the same air as these people.
I am truely disgusted.

Posted by andy | Report as abusive

I am writing this as an ex-serviceman who ONCE was willing to lay down my life for this country – the same Code of Honour members of the Brigade of Ghurkhas signed. I now would rather go to prison than fight for the likes of you and your kind who now abuse the freedoms so dearly won for this once Great Britain.

The Brigade of Ghurkhas – strangulated leave to stay is an abomination.
I am utterly disgusted at your (Woolas mp) stance, and HMG’s cowardly participation, of failing to allow the men from the Brigade of Ghurkhas and their families leave to stay in the UK.
By building artificial, stupefying criteria, you have alienated a whole nation and shamed yourself forever. All the perfumes of Arabia will not wash the stink of that decision from you or your government’s persona. ws/gurkhas-statement
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas has released a statement announcing that the government will use new criteria to consider applications from former members of the Brigade of Ghurkhas who want to settle in the UK.

You know that “new criteria” will basically only allow Officer’s the entitlement to stay in the UK – because most ranks can only serve a maximum of fifteen years! What a cheap, dirty, cowardly trick that was Mr Woolas.
Is that the same criteria your debased Home Office used when a bunch of gun-wielding low-life aircraft highjackers flew into Stansted on a B727 in February 2000? “The men, armed with four guns, a knife and two hand grenades, threatened to kill passengers and blow up the plane.”
TWO question for you Mr Woolas:
(a) Where are, Ali Safi, Abdul Shohab, Taimur Shah, Kazim Mohammed, Reshad Ahmadi, Nazamuddin Mohammidy, Abdul Ghayur, Mohammed Showaib, Mohammed Safi right now? (a clue: Nazzamuddin Mohammidy was last known working at Heathrow airport as a cleaner!)

(b) How many of the 77 Afghans and “the other passengers” who illegally entered the UK are earning a living and paying tax in the UK?
Ref D: Mr. Browne: The 77 Afghans who arrived on the hijacked aircraft at Stansted Airport in February 2000, including the hijackers and the other passengers [160], have claimed asylum and have been supported under Section 111 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

“Where there are strong reasons………”
Being prepared to die for this country wearing the uniform of the Brigade of Ghurkhas is one hell of a “strong reason” I would suggest.
I don’t see any strong reasons mirrored in the principles applied to allowing illegals immigrants leave to stay on our shores. I don’t see ‘them’ having to have won Level 1/2/3 awards for bravery.

You, and your government, because of complete neglect and astronomical incompetence have wiped the board of any ‘honour’ you may once have had – you and your government have torn up the law papers and permitted HUNDREDS terrorists to remain in this country!
Ref E: – Latest Home Office figures show that of the 963 people detained under Britain’s terrorism laws between September 2001 and November 2005, 232 were identified in the department’s records as having applied for asylum, 214 of them before being arrested.
Questions for you Mr Woolas:
(a) How many of the said 963 are earning a living and paying tax in the UK?
(b) How many of the said 963 have been deported?

Your decision and that of your Home Office puppets have shown it is time for you and your tribe to be demobbed – preferably to some 3rd world country hell-hole or in lieu of that, bear arms and fight in Afghanistan for how ever long it takes, and if you stay for 20 years or win the VC, DSO or MC, then you will be allowed back to the UK.

Posted by Captain Bryn Wayt | Report as abusive

This farcical situation arises from the British government’s lack of integrity regarding immigration policy. On the one hand it welcomes foreign terrorists and criminals on the flimsiest pretext of protecting their “rights” and on the other hand it denies entry to people with British ancestry and people like the Ghurkhas who have performed a useful service to the country.

Yes, it is being unfair. Yes, it has double standards. But the answer is not to let in the Ghurkhas as yet another “special case” which will be used as a precedent by money-grubbing lawyers fo years to come. It is to draw a line under the loose ends of the country’s colonial past and formulate and properly enforce an immigration policy that is fair both to would-be migrants and to the British people.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

Gordon Brown should remember he is only a public servant by vote no more than that and that can be changed very quickly , if the Ghurkhas go Gordon GOES ,Gordon may have little or no respect for his self but he can not take the Brits self respect away ,lets show him give the Ghurkhas what they deserve to be allowed residency in the UK without question by calling up a National Ghurkhas Support Day and give them the Nations vote to stay

Posted by Englishman | Report as abusive

Its time for Gordon Brown to upgrade his “moral compass” to a moral GPS if he thinks this is afair way to treat loyal gurkhas.

Posted by Paul Gates | Report as abusive