Today a landmark test case challenging the deportation of ex Gurkha soldiers from Britain was won by five of the soldiers and a soldier’s widow. Now, up to 2000 more appeals against deportation could be heard. As the Gurkha base moved from Hong Kong to the UK in 1997, the UK government claimed that those who retired before 1997 didn’t have an automatic right to UK residency as they didn’t have a residential tie with the UK. So, what sort of tie do you need? Let’s think about this. These men have offered their lives for the protection of our country and our dominions for the past two centuries. Surely that would suggest that they have a reasonable tie to our country? I like Italy a lot, and would love to live on the Amalfi Coast or Sorrentine Peninsula but I would not be willing to fight for Italy in a war. And yet as I am an EU citizen I have the right to move there if I should so wish. And in a similar way, people from the EU are perfectly entitled to move to and work in the UK on a whim if they should so choose, while these Gurkhas who have defended this country in battle over and again have to plead for the right to stay.
This shows an appalling ingratitude and lack of appreciation of the sacrifice that these soldiers have been making for a country of which they are not residents. They don’t even belong to the Commonwealth. As Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats said, “I’ve always felt that if someone is prepared to die for this country, then they should have the right to live in this country”.
There is an online campaign at http://www.gurkhajustice.org.uk/ to give retired Gurkhas an automatic right to settle in the UK if they should wish. Please, if you are a UK resident, sign the petition and add the weight of your voice to this cause. If you are not a UK resident but can see the justice in this campaign, please pass the URL onto UK residents who will be able to support it.