Session 2008-09 7 May 2009

Settlement Rights of Gurkhas

The Home Affairs Select Committee last night wrote to the Prime Minister seeking clarification of the timetable for the introduction of new proposals on the settlement rights of Gurkhas.

The letter follows an evidence session held with Joanna Lumley, the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Kevan Jones on 5th May 2009. It also outlines the Committee's plans to hold a seminar and further evidence session on this issue in early June and publish a report during the week commencing 15th June 2009.

Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee said:

"Clarification of the timescale for the Government's proposals is essential. I am confident that our report in June will help the Government develop effective plans that recognise the sacrifices the Gurkhas have made for the people of this country."

The full text of the letter is appended:

Appendix: Letter from Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman Home Affairs Select Committee to Rt Hon Gordon Brown, Prime Minister (6th May)

Dear Prime Minister,

Settlement Rights of Gurkhas

The Home Affairs Select Committee has noted that you met Joanna Lumley following our Gurkha evidence session on 5th May 2009. We welcome your decision to meet with Ms Lumley and hope that your wish to engage in direct dialogue on this issue will help expedite a satisfactory conclusion.

We would welcome clarification of the timetable concerning this matter. When the Immigration Minister appeared at our evidence session, he stated that all existing applications would be cleared by the end of May 2009. He then invited the Home Affairs Select Committee to meet with him and his officials in order to fashion a set of agreed proposals.

We have today agreed to:

€ Host a seminar on the Gurkhas on 3rd June 2009.

€ Hold a further evidence session on 9th June 2009, at which we will ask Ministers to put forward their new proposals.

€ Publish our report during the week commencing 15th June 2009.

We would be grateful if you could inform us if the meeting with Ms Lumley has altered the government's timetable for the new proposals as set out to us by Phil Woolas.