Gurkhas should not have a general right to settle in the UK

The government appears about to grant all ex-Gurkhas the right to settle in the United Kingdom.

Despite the hullabaloo led by Joanna Lumley, the government was right to resist this step which will open another huge hole in our immigration defences. The same  lawyers who have been orchestrating the Gurkhas’ campaign are poised to do the same for the next group they alight on, probably the Fijians of whom there are over 2000 in the British Army.

This step will  deprive one of the poorest countries of the world of their own trained men and remittances from Britain to pensioner Gurkhas resettled back in their homeland, Nepal, at the end of their service with the British Army. The move will also break the spirit of the 1947 tripartite agreement between India, Nepal and the UK, which provides specifically for the Gurkhas to go back to Nepal at the end of their service with the Indian or British Armies.

In the 62 years of this agreement until very recently, this resettlement was accepted by all sides, including the Gurkhas themselves who have found service with the British Army so attractive that there are around 50 applications for each place.  With an automatic right of settlement in Britain there will be even more, perhaps 100 for each place.

Why does the British public appear to want this? The Gurkhas have been gallant soldiers in the days of the Indian Empire (and still are by all accounts) but that all ended over 60 years ago. Today they stand in exactly the same position in Britain’s service as they do in India’s service or as Fijians do in British service today, i.e. they fight for money with the risk of death or injury. Today’s Gurkhas do not fight for Queen and Country: it’s not their Queen and it’s not their country, how ever much Lumley and co. convince themselves otherwise.

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