Earlier this week, I received a letter from Father Liam McMahon, who is the parish priest at St Michael’s on Gallowgate in Parkhead. Like many other ministers and those in the clergy, he is concerned about the changes to tier 5 religious worker visas. May we have a debate in Government time about early-day motion 2362, in the name of my hon. Friend Patrick Grady, to ensure that the Home Office reverses these retrograde plans that will disproportionately impact parishes right across the United Kingdom?
[That this House notes with concern the decision of the Home Office to remove Ministers of Religion from the eligibility criteria for tier 5 entry visas to the UK; further notes the widespread disappointment about this decision felt by Churches and other faith communities which have previously been able to invite religious ministers from overseas, and particularly developing countries, to provide supply cover for religious services over the coming months; believes this will have a negative effect on the ability of priests and ministers in the UK to take a break over the summer, on faith communities who may experience reduced worship schedules, and on the supply ministers who have used the opportunity to gain experience in the UK and earn some additional income before returning to their home country; and calls on the Home Secretary to meet with representatives of faith communities to listen to their concerns and urgently review his Department’s policy decision.]
I know the Leader of the House is sympathetic and a practising Christian. Will she be a voice in Government to U-turn on this ridiculous decision by the Home Office that will affect parishes all across these islands?