Tier 5 Religious Worker Visas — [Mike Gapes in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:15 pm on 4th July 2019.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley 3:15 pm, 4th July 2019

I am happy to refer to the Church of England as part of the Anglican Communion, which is a worldwide organisation that exists in so many countries that one might have thought that if there were a problem, it too would experience exactly the same problem, because there are exchanges of people between different countries, dioceses and parishes.

I will take my glasses off to read what Christian Concern said, because it is in quite small print. It states that

“it is possible to enter the UK as a ‘business visitor’
to undertake some preaching…provided the person’s base is abroad”.

That is the basis on which the exchange of Anglican personnel takes place; it is not that the Anglicans do not invite colleagues from the Anglican Communion to come over to preach in their churches. I have been to many services at which the preacher has come from a country overseas. We need to ensure that we do not get two things confused: the restrictions on the priesthood, which I know exist, for whatever reason; and the changes to the immigration system.

Last, I mention my close contacts with the Jewish community. I appreciate, from conversations beforehand with the hon. Member for Glasgow East, that his view is that the Jewish community in Scotland has similar problems. However, I asked my Jewish colleagues exactly where the problem was likely to occur in the Jewish community, and most if not all of those I questioned did not see this as a problem for them. Again, we have to go back to this being a much more complex question than simply one of visas.

I offer those reasons up as a view on the issue and to widen the debate.