London: Former Gurkha soldiers cheered and waved their regiment’s flag outside the high court in London on Tuesday after they won a long-running fight to secure the right to retire in Britain.
Members of the famous unit, which has fought for Britain since 1815, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, overturned an earlier ruling that meant those who retired before 1997 had no automatic right to live in Britain.
All other foreign soldiers in the British Army can settle in Britain after four years’ service anywhere in the world. About 2,000 Gurkhas are affected by the current rules. The high court ruled that instructions given by the home office to immigration officials were unlawful and must be changed.
“Today is a wonderful, terrific victory day for the Gurkhas of Nepal,” said lawyer Martin Howe, who represented them. “It is a victory for common sense, it is a victory for fairness.”
After the ruling, home secretary Jacqui Smith said the rules would be rewritten. “In light of the court’s ruling we will revise and publish new guidance,” she said. “We will honour our commitment to the Gurkhas by reviewing all cases by the end of the year.”