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Labour MP proposes immigration protocol for religious bodies

world Updated: Jun 30, 2010 13:21 IST

PTI
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Barry Gardiner, a pro-India Labour MP has proposed a protocol to fast track ministers of religion coming to work in the UK.

Participating in the debate on Home Secretary Theresa May's statement about immigration to the House of Commons, Gardiner said, "just as we certify universities and accredit their students, so we could establish a certification system for religious groups with a long and successful history of bringing ministers, monks, sadhus and priests to perform religious duties in the UK."

He said, "I deal with so many cases where sadhus or priests have been asked to go through the normal entry clearance questions. But you have to ask yourself how a monk who has taken a vow of poverty is going to be able to satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer that they have sufficient funds to pay for their trip.

"It is not only right that ministers of religion be exempted from the Conservative/Lib proposals for an immigration cap, we also need a fast track certification process that shows some understanding that these individuals are bound by vows of religious observance and that the normal visa scrutiny is just inappropriate."