UK revises rules for Gurkha veterans

April 24, 2009 20:08

The British government on Friday loosened, but didn't eliminate, immigration restrictions for Nepalese veterans of the country's armed forces. The government said the change would allow about 4,000 more Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 to live permanently in Britain. But advocates for the Nepalese soldiers said the new policy was still too limited and imposed too many conditions on those seeking the right to settle in the UK. The Nepalese soldiers, mercenaries recruited from the Himalayan hills, have fought for Britain for about 200 years, including recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Immigration rules introduced five years ago allowed Gurkhas with at least four years' service to settle in the UK, but the rules didn't apply to Gurkhas discharged from the British Army before 1997. The government argued some of those veterans had weak links to Britain and should have their cases reviewed individually, rather than having an automatic right to settle.

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