Support your Gurkha Veterans and Families.
Support your Gurkha Veterans and Families.
Dear Prime Minister Boris Johnson,
We write to you today as veterans representing the Armed Forces Communities, particularly the Gurkhas and families to draw your attention toward the commitment that you promised to ensure world-class provision of life-long veterans’ care services in this country. We ask you to put those words into action to address the discrimination, inequalities and legal barriers still affecting the lives of the Gurkha Veterans, widows and families.
The Gurkha Justice Campaign, led by actor Joana Lumley, was a huge success which granted the Gurkhas their long delayed right to settle in the country they loved and fought for. Since then rules changed, new case laws were introduced and the Gurkhas arrived in the country. However the predicament of the Gurkhas is not over yet. Despite their long-cherished settlement rights and transition to the UK, thousands of elderly Gurkha Veterans, widows and families still suffer from the “historic injustice”.
Under the discretionary policy, not all Gurkhas and their families qualify to enter the UK as one family unit. The Gurkhas had to live in separation from their families due to strict Terms and Conditions of the service then. The elderly Gurkhas and widows are faced with separation again from their children due to exclusive and/or unfair immigration policy. This has left the Gurkhas with no choice but to fight a lengthy and expensive legal battle against the Home Office and appeal for their children in the UK Courts and Tribunals on a daily basis. Such options and circumstances have added further sufferings to the woes of the already disadvantaged, impoverished and ailing elderly Gurkha veterans. As our Prime Minister, you can put an end to this by making sure that all Gurkha veterans and families get the rights they deserve and support they need.
The Gurkha children are the unsung heroes and have also become the victims of the long-delayed rights. Most of them grew up without seeing their fathers due to the Crown service and many have already lost them. Those Gurkha children who have either one or both parents still alive culturally share unique bonds with them. The elderly Gurkha Veterans and widows heavily rely on their adult children for practical and emotional support. Having been separated from their loved ones, the Gurkha veterans, wives and widows are forced to live a miserable life in the UK. No one wants to or should be left on their own while they are old, frail and vulnerable. But this is what has happened to many of your elderly Gurkha veterans due to the unfair immigration policies agains the Gurkhas.
The Gurkha children share same loyal genes as their fathers and forefathers and are highly capable of contributing to the British economy. A huge number of Gurkha children who have been educated and trained as Nurses and other Healthcare professionals here in the UK are made hostage of their situation due to the unfair immigration policy. Having to go through usually prolonged, expensive legal battle to regain their immigration status and being deprived of right to work or seek any benefits, the highly qualified Gurkha children are forced to face anxiety, depression and mental health issues. As our Prime Minister, I believe you could make a difference right away in their life and rather have them working for the prestigious jobs in NHS than let them live a degrading life and be a socio-economic burden to this country or elsewhere.
We have also noticed an entirely new phenomenon of injustice passing on in the Gurkha lineage or adding on to the list of “historic wrong”. Some of the Gurkha children are currently at a risk of deportation with their British-born babies as the Home Office declined their application to extend their Visas or settle under the discretionary basis as families of already settled UK military personnel. With their parents’ immigration status subject to control, the innocent babies are deprived of their rights and benefits. Furthermore, practically speaking, they are made stateless. As our Prime Minister, We strongly believe that you can put an end to this nonsense once for and all.
Your pledge, dedication and commitment to the world-class provisions of life-long care for our veterans demonstrates that the Gurkhas have not been forgotten, that their voices have been heard and are being acted on. We strongly welcome your commitment to ensure the Gurkhas get their rights and support they deserve.
We are willing to work with you and your office towards making much needed progress on immigration policies and other relevant issues that are impacting the health (including mental health), wellbeing and lives of the Gurkha veterans and families.