24 April 2009

10,000 more Gurkhas now eligible for permanent UK visa

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The UK Border Agency has announced changes to its UK visa programme for those who served in the Brigade of the Gurkhas for the British Government.

The new criteria for the UK visa programme means that another 10,000 Gurkhas will be eligible to settle in the UK.  The Brigade of the Gurkhas is a unit of the British Army comprising Nepalese soldiers.  The Brigade is renowned for its gallantry and particularly its use of a unique weapon known as the kukris, a heavy knife with a curved blade.

After announcing the changes to the UK visa system for Gurkhas, the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said that while a number of Gurkhas have already settled in the UK, Britain would like to honour many more for their service to the nation by offering more the opportunity to move to the UK.

"Where there are strong reasons, there has been scope for Gurkhas who retired prior to July 1997 to apply to settle in the UK. In fact, because of rules brought in by the Government, we have already welcomed around 6,000 Gurkhas and family members to Britain.

"Now, another 10,000 Gurkhas and family members will be able to benefit from our revised guidance."

The UKBA will be using the Ministry of Defence to spread the word amongst those who may be affected by the changes, and will conduct a review in a year's time.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

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