Home Office removal of former Gurkhas paused

Thursday 6 April 2023

Ali Bandegani and Ella Gunn of the Garden Court Public Law and Immigration Teams are representing the individuals. Counsel instructed by Jamie Bell and Elleanor Wilkins-Bell of Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

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Ali Bandegani and Ella Gunn are representing six individuals who were evacuated to the UK on 18 August 2021 and face being unlawfully removed by the Home Office. Following legal action, a Home Office spokesperson told Radio 4 on 5th April that: "Removal of the cohort has been paused, pending further review". 

The group includes Nepalese nationals, as well as Indian nationals of Nepali heritage (many were previously Gurkha Soldiers in the Nepalese military) who were employed at the British Embassy in Kabul as security guards and supervisors with responsibility for protecting the lives of diplomatic staff. They were considered high-priority targets by the Taliban and in 2016, they witnessed their colleagues killed by a Taliban suicide bombing. 

After the fall of Kabul, the men were evacuated to the United Kingdom and were granted leave to remain and permission to work under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme ('ACRS').  They later underwent biometric enrolment and were advised their leave would be extended whilst their indefinite leave to remain (ILR) applications were processed. Of a cohort of 13 men, five were granted ILR, whilst eight were told they were ineligible. It is entirely unclear why some were granted ILR, and others were not. The paperwork for those who were not granted ILR demonstrates that their applications were ‘voided’ as ineligible despite being made on their behalf by the Home Office. They continued to work and live in the UK whilst being given contradictory information by the Home Office about their rights. 

On 27th March 2023, the Home Office detained 10 of the men. One man was arrested in his underwear at 5.30am whilst another was arrested during an appointment with the Home Office to resolve issues with his BRP card. Two of the detained men had previously been granted ILR and were unaware of any problems with their status. Three men with ILR remain at liberty.

This case has received coverage in BBC News and The Guardian.

The above content has been reproduced from a Duncan Lewis press release.

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