Page last updated at 23:01 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 00:01 UK

Judgement due in UK Gurkhas case

Former Nepalese Gurkha soldiers and Victoria Cross winners Tul Bahadur Pun  (L) and Lachhiman Gurung (R) protest outside the High Court in central London
Lawyers for the Gurkhas say the government's policy is discriminatory

A judgement is expected in the High Court case of retired Gurkhas battling for the right to live in the UK.

The test case is being brought by five ex-Gurkhas and the widow of another Gurkha veteran.

Gurkhas who retired from the British Army after the regiment moved its main base from Hong Kong to the UK in 1997 have automatic permission to remain.

The government says those discharged before this date were unlikely to have strong residential ties with the UK.

Those who retired earlier than 1997 must apply for British residence and can be refused and deported.

The outcome of the case could affect more than 2,000 retired Gurkhas who have been denied the right to settle in the UK.

Bravery and endurance

The concession grants the right to settle in the UK to non-UK nationals who have completed four years' service in the armed forces.

Under the Home Office's discretionary policy, strong reasons have to be shown for extending the concession.

The five ex-Gurkhas involved in the test case are L/Cpl Gyanendra Rai, Deo Prakash Limbu, Cpl Chakra Limbu, L/Cpl Birendra Shrestha and Bhim Gurung.

Mrs Gita Mukhiya was a special category, said Mr Fitzgerald, because she could not qualify under the Armed Forces Concession.

He said he hoped the home secretary would review her case in the light of the court's findings.

Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years. They are hand picked from a fiercely contested recruitment contest in Nepal to win the right to fight for Britain.

Known for their bravery, their close camaraderie and endurance, they have seen combat all over the world, with 200,000 fighting in the two world wars.

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