Gurkha Soldiers 

Sir Mike Penning MP

As a former Minister for the Armed Forces and veteran myself, I am delighted that the Government has finally scrapped the astronomic visa fees for Commonwealth and Gurkha soldiers who wish to stay in the UK after serving in the UK armed forces.

From 6 April, all Commonwealth soldiers and Gurkhas who have served in the UK Armed Forces for six or more years, or who had to leave prior to that due to injury, no longer have to pay fees to continue to live in the UK following service in the UK’s Armed Forces. The fees are currently £2,389.

I have long supported the Royal British Legion campaign on this issue. It has been very disappointing that Commonwealth and Gurkha soldiers have faced separation from their families and even deportation after years of loyal service in our Armed Forces because they have been unable to pay the high fees to secure Indefinite Leave to Remain status.

Commonwealth and Gurkha troops make a massive contribution to our Armed Forces. Charging long-serving members of our Armed Forces to remain here after their service ends was not right. There are still some outstanding issues in respect of family visas, and I have written to the MOD about this, but this is a very welcome step.

 

Photo: Sir Mike Penning, when Minister for the Armed Forces, being presented with a khata traditional greeting scarf when visiting the Gurkha Company at Catterick. (Credit The Gurkha Brigade Association)

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