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Ghurkas Finally GetTheir Due?

The Bread Guy

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Just spotted this, but can't find any MSM confirmation yet.  If this is the case, about time - well done!

Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.

Gurkhas Get Shown the Money
Strategy Page, 15 Mar 07
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Bowing to years of complaints from retired Gurkhas, and many Britons, the United Kingdom has agreed to pay retired Gurkha soldiers at the same rate as other British soldiers. That will mean a Gurkha infantrymans annual pension will go from about $2,200 a year, to nearly $12,000. The average income in Nepal is about $200 a year. The current British pension (for 15 years service) allowed the retired Gurkhas to live very well in Nepal, and start a second career. The new pension will make them quite wealthy, by Nepalese standards. But that's the problem. An increasing number of Gurkhas have been retiring in Britain, instead of returning to Nepal. When they do that, the difference between the two pension systems is more apparent.

All this began two centuries ago, when Gurkhas were recruited into the British Indian army, not the British army. Thus, until the new changes, when Gurkhas signed up for the British army (and there is fierce competition for the few hundred openings each year), they agreed to receive a pension based on what soldiers get in the Indian army.  For nearly two centuries, the British army has used Gurkha tribesmen from Nepal as infantry. The Gurkhas have been very good at the job. After India became independent in 1947, they too recruited Gurkhas for Indian infantry units. In fact, the Indian army employs more Gurkha troops than does the British. But service in the British army was considered a better deal, even though the pay was the same as that received by Gurkhas in the Indian army.

The Gurkhas want to dispense with the two century old colonial arrangement, and get paid the same as any other foreigner who joins the British army. Makes sense. After all, the Gurkhas are not just another foreigner signing up. The Gurkhas have an outstanding reputation for military skills, discipline, bravery and all round kick-ass soldiering. However, one thing the British bean counters are digging their heals in on is making the increase retroactive for the thousands of Gurkha retirees living in Nepal and Britain. So the fight continues, mainly for the 30,000 retired Gurkhas and 6,000 widows. There are currently 3,500 Gurkhas serving in the British army. Full pay and pension equality would cost Britain over $3 billion.

 

Yrys

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MPs urged to change Gurkha rules, 28 april

_45704119_007217706-1.jpg

The rules on Gurkhas entering the
UK were changed last week


MPs are to debate the government's decision to limit the number of Gurkha
veterans allowed to settle in the UK. The Liberal Democrats, who have put
forward a parliamentary motion calling for an easing of the rules, are
urging Labour MPs to vote against ministers.

Some 36,000 former Gurkhas have been denied residency because they
served in the British army before 1997.

The government insists changes made to residency rules last week will allow
an extra 4,300 to settle in the UK. Immigration regulations introduced in 2004
allowed serving Gurkhas with at least four years' service to move to the UK.
However, they do not apply to those discharged from the Army before 1 July
1997, when their base relocated from Hong Kong to Folkestone, Kent.

Conditions

The High Court ruled last year that the government policy on older veterans
was unlawful and in need of urgent review.

Last week the Home Office responded, saying Gurkhas who left service before
1997 and wanting to come to the UK should meet criteria involving long service,
bravery medals and medical conditions caused by service in the brigade.

The Lib Dems, who say this does not go far enough, have secured a debate on
the issue in the House of Commons on Wednesday.  Leader Nick Clegg said the
government was ignoring basic principles, adding: "People who are prepared to
fight and die for our country should be entitled to live here. "Yet even this basic
principle is broken by this out of touch and morally bankrupt government."

Home affairs select committee members from across the parties have tabled a
separate Commons motion attacking the "unnecessarily restrictive, morally wrong
and offensive" restrictions which excluded all but officers.

Among them is Labour's Martin Salter, who said: "This completely disgraceful
decision does a great disservice to the brave Gurkha soldiers who have willingly
risked their lives for this country. "They are being told, in effect, that as far as
the government is concerned, they are worth less than other foreign nationals who
only have to serve four years before they can apply for settlement rights in the UK."

'Massive pressure'

A Downing Street spokesman said: "We recognise that there is a good deal of interest
in these cases. We have already made changes to the guidelines as called for by the
court." The changes would apply to 4,000 Gurkhas and their dependants, he insisted.
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said last week that letting all 36,000 Gurkhas in to
the UK would lead to "massive pressure" on the immigration service.

But campaigners claim fewer than 100 of the Nepalese soldiers will benefit from the
Home Office's changes to the rules. Protesters are expected to gather at Westminster,
among them actress Joanna Lumley, whose father served in the Gurkha regiment.


SEE ALSO
Lib Dems challenge Gurkha ruling
26 Apr 09 |  UK
Fury over Gurkha settlement plan
24 Apr 09 |  UK
Gurkha settlement plan 'in weeks'
26 Mar 09 |  UK
Gurkhas demand government action
17 Mar 09 |  UK
Gurkhas fight on for equal rights
15 Sep 08 |  UK
Gurkhas decision delay criticised
07 Jan 09 |  UK
Gurkhas win right to stay in UK
30 Sep 08 |  UK

 

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Lumley in public clash on Gurkhas, BBC News, Thursday, 7 May 2009

_45742465_007279164-1.jpg

Ms Lumley has spearheaded the
campaign for Gurkha settlement rights


Joanna Lumley says the immigration minister has "reassured" her over Gurkhas' rights to settle in the UK,
in an unscheduled and dramatic meeting. The actress and Phil Woolas came face-to-face in highly-charged
scenes at the BBC's Westminster office and then held an impromptu press conference nearby. It followed
the rejection of appeals by five Gurkhas for residency, rulings which Ms Lumley said were "shocking".

Opposition parties said government policy had become a "shambles".

Extraordinary scenes

Mr Woolas said the cases of the five Gurkhas, one of whom was badly injured during the Falklands War,
would be reviewed. He indicated campaigners and opposition parties would have a say in the formation
of new regulations on residency rights, forced by Labour's Commons defeat on the issue last week.

Ms Lumley said: "I have met Mr Woolas now and I am reassured again. Because I know we are going
to assist Mr Woolas in making the strongest guidelines possible. "We have to believe in this. This is all
we've got to believe in. We wish this campaign was over now." But she urged the government to act
more quickly, saying the issue could be settled by next week.

The 1,500 Gurkhas whose applications for permanent residence were currently being considered should
"be received with open arms", she said. "There is nothing more to think about and consider," she said,
adding that the government had been sending out "blurred messages" about its policy.

Mr Woolas said immigration policy could not "be determined on a whim" and residency rules for Gurkhas
had to be considered within a legal framework. But he said ministers were respecting the will of Parliament
in reviewing the regulations, after Labour's recent defeat on the issue, and he believed that the Gurkhas
would be "pleased" with the outcome of the review.

The meeting between Ms Lumley and Mr Woolas came about after Ms Lumley arrived at the building in which
the BBC studio is based to host a press conference. As Ms Lumley, who has spearheaded the campaign for
Gurkha settlement rights, prepared for her press conference Mr Woolas began a live television interview
inside - Ms Lumley stood outside watching. Once his interview ended the two, surrounded by reporters and
television crews, made their way to an office to hold talks.

The BBC's Political Editor Nick Robinson said he had rarely seen scenes of such a kind, with Ms Lumley
appearing to be leading the government a merry dance on the issue. Although the meeting had not resulted
in a change of policy, it showed just how powerful the Gurkha campaign had become and how crucial
Ms Lumley's involvement was.

Rejection letters

The day's events were triggered by letters sent to four Gurkhas informing them that their residency
applications had been turned down.

Ms Lumley said the decisions were an "enormous shock", coming a day after she met Gordon Brown and
was assured he would deal personally with the row over residency rights. Some 36,000 Gurkhas, a brigade
of Nepalese soldiers who serve in the British Army, were denied UK residency because they left before 1997.
Ms Lumley has long argued for Gurkha soldiers to be granted the the same settlement rights as soldiers from
Commonwealth countries who have fought for the UK.

Ministers eased the residency rules for Gurkhas earlier this year after the High Court said its policy was not
sufficiently clear. Under the current rules, ministers argue that more than 4,000 Gurkhas will be able to settle
in the UK but campaigners have said the figure will be closer to 100. However, the rules are to be reviewed
again after the government was defeated in a Commons vote on the issue.

The cases of the four Gurkhas were considered under the existing rules and Mr Woolas stressed their request
for settlement had not been rejected once and for all. The UK Border Agency - which considers residency
applications - said their cases would be "reconsidered when the next stage of reform has been finalised".

No 10 says it will to publish revised rules by the end of July and consider all existing applications by the end
of the month.

'Strong campaign'

Officials point out that more than 100 Gurkhas have been granted rights of settlement in the last few days
as the backlog of outstanding cases are dealt with.

Mr Woolas said Ms Lumley and other activists had run a "strong campaign" but denied ministers had been
"outmanoeuvred". However, opposition parties said the rejected applications flew in the face of government
commitments to review the system following its embarrassing parliamentary defeat.

Tory leader David Cameron said the "left hand of this government doesn't know what the right hand is doing".
"The prime minister has absolutely got to get a grip on this issue," he told a meeting of party supporters in
Derbyshire.

The Lib Dems described the latest rulings as "astonishing". "At worst this is a betrayal and at best it is a
monumental shambles," said its home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne.
 

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Lumley rejects criticism from minister over Gurkha help

Actress Joanna Lumley has said she has "never stopped working" to help support
the rights of Gurkhas after criticism from a government minister. Her campaign
forced ministers to let more Gurkhas settle in the UK but veterans minister Kevan
Jones said she had not done enough to help them since.

Ms Lumley said claims she had "lured" Gurkhas to the UK with "promises of paradise"
were completely untrue. It was sad she and her supporters now had to "clear" their
names, she added.

Shortly before the former Absolutely Fabulous actress began a press conference in
Westminster Mr Jones apologised for claiming Ms Lumley was guilty of a "deathly
silence" over Gurkhas' rights. He said: "I am sorry if any offence was caused -
this was not intended. "My sole concern, and that of this government, is to stop
unscrupulous middle-men ripping off vulnerable ex-Gurkhas who are entitled
to settle in the UK when our free service exists to help them without charge."

'Just cause'
Appearing before the Commons home affairs committee earlier this month, Mr
Jones said Ms Lumley and fellow campaigners had not done enough to explain
the new rules - permitting any Gurkhas with more than four years' service to
apply for settlement in the UK with their families - to them.

Ms Lumley said she had never met Mr Jones and urged Prime Minister Gordon
Brown to restate his commitment to the policy agreed last year following a lengthy
campaign backed by MPs from all parties. Describing the campaign as a "just cause",
she said her team had not neglected Gurkhas who had moved to the UK since then,
amid reports that many were now living in poverty. "We have not stopped working
solidly for the Gurkhas, as we promised the prime minister we would, although we
have been doing it in the quiet," she told a press conference.

She said she would look into newspaper reports claiming that Gurkhas looking to
move to the UK had been exploited by middle men. However, she rejected claims
that Gurkhas had paid for her to visit Nepal or that a law firm processing visa
applications had behaved disreputably as "absolutely untrue" - adding that she
believed the "system was working well".

It is understood that Mr Brown tried to contact Ms Lumley before the press conference
but the actress said she had not spoken to him.

'Glare of publicity'
She said she still believed Mr Brown backed the Gurkha campaign "to the hilt" and
would have been as "shocked" about the recent reports as she was. Minister Kevan
Jones said some veterans had been mistakenly led to think they would be entitled
to free housing in Britain, while others were encouraged to make voluntary donations
to veterans' organisations in Nepal which then referred them on to UK solicitors.

The actress responded in an open letter signed by herself, Peter Carroll from the Gurkha
Justice Campaign and Howe & Co Solicitors. The letter said: "Last year Gordon Brown
took personal charge of the Gurkha issue. He asked us to deal with No 10 and his senior
civil servants, out of the glare of publicity, so as to iron out any 'bumps in the road'. We
respected his request and kept our promise." It also said it was the government's
responsibility to help Gurkhas who had found it hard to settle in the UK.

Ms Lumley said she had come to the press conference "almost with a sense of regret,
that we've had to come to this... clearing our names in public". She said articles had
appeared "which must have put doubt into the hearts of all the people who supported
the Gurkha justice campaign". She urged the prime minister "to affirm that the policy
is one that he still completely supports" and that the Ministry of Defence was behind
"everything they said they would be behind".

Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: "Ministers have been wrong all along
on the Gurkha issue, showing a mixture of bad judgement and mean spiritedness. They
should concentrate on solving the administrative problems that remain, instead of
attacking the campaigners."
 

zipperhead_cop

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You would think with the vast numbers of unproductive clods the UK lets into their borders they would be thrilled to have members that actually served their country living there? ???  Maybe false refugee claimants with ties to terrorism are more appealing. 
 

The Bread Guy

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Bumped with the latest....

Now that Gurkhas can move to/live in the U.K., it appears there's going to be a look-see into their pension/benefits ....
A former Gurkha has ended a 14-day hunger strike after a group of MPs announced plans to hold an inquiry into Gurkha pensions and other issues.

Gyanraj Raj has been camped out on Whitehall since 7 November, threatening to starve himself to death.

Mr Raj said his experience was "so hard, so difficult", and cautioned: "We are yet to win."

Joanna Lumley, the actress and advocate of Gurkhas' rights, presented him with a glass of fruit juice to loud cheers.

She said it was "a happy day for all concerned" and told the Gurkhas "everything that you want to say will be heard as a matter of extreme importance and urgency".

She added she felt sure "nothing is going to be swept under the carpet".

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gurkha Welfare is expected to begin taking evidence before March 2014 and will publish a report "shortly afterwards".

The MPs will consider not only pensions, but also healthcare, benefits and what are seen as historic grievances.

The inquiry is understood to have the prime minister's support, BBC deputy political editor James Landale says ....
 

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Bumped with the latest 8 years later - still seems to be no movement on at least some pensions ....
A Gurkha veteran who was taken ill during a hunger strike outside Downing Street has returned to the protest.

A spokesperson said Dhan Gurung has refused food for 12 days and was taken to hospital because his heart slowed.

The 60-year-old, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, is part of a group protesting unequal pensions with other British Army veterans.

More than 100 people have also gathered for a march through London in support of those on hunger strike.

Gurkhas who retired before 1997 receive a fraction of the pension British-born members of the army get ...
 
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