MP raises fears immigration rules could stop preachers coming to the UK
There are fears that visiting preachers and religious ministers will not be able to come to the UK because of new immigration rules.
Tory MP Paul Masterton (East Renfrewshire) said religious leaders and faith groups have raised concerns about new rules which may make it difficult for clerics from overseas to enter the UK.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Masterton said: “A number of faith leaders and individuals across East Renfrewshire, particularly from the Catholic community, have raised concerns about recent changes to immigration rules for preachers coming to the UK on short-term supply placements.
“The new Tier 2 visa is double the cost, making it unaffordable for many parishes.”
Mr Masterton called on Theresa May to ensure the rules do not pose an “unnecessary barrier” to preachers visiting the UK.
He said: “Given the huge benefits to congregations and wider communities derived from these placements, can you look again to make sure we are not putting unnecessary barriers to continuing these long-standing and very positive placement opportunities?”
The Prime Minister said the Home Office will be speaking to faith leaders and community groups about the immigration rules.
Mrs May said: “We want to be able to continue to welcome those who want to come to the UK in accordance with our immigration rules.
“I understand that, as part of their extensive programme of engagement around the future borders and immigration system, the Home Office will be talking to representatives of a range of faith and community groups, and those discussions will include the future visa arrangements for ministers of religion.”
Picture: A passenger enters the UK border control at Heathrow’s Terminal 1. (Steve Parsons/PA).