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Immigrants: Christianity

Home Office written question – answered on 18th October 2018.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions has he had with the House of Bishops on the criteria used by the immigration authorities to assess whether a person has satisfactory grounds for using conversion to Christianity as a reason to be granted leave to remain.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

Home Office policy is clear that when considering asylum claims based on religious belief or lack of belief, caseworkers must ask appropriate and sensitive questions based on an understanding of religious concepts, philosophical viewpoints and forms of persecution a person may be subjected to in their country. Where caseworkers need to establish credibility of a conversion to any faith, the approach taken is to explore with that individual their personal experiences and journey to their new faith, both in their country and in the UK, rather than test their knowledge of religious facts.

Home Office officials regularly discuss religious-based claims with a broad range of faith groups to ensure we are considering such claims appropriately. This includes working closely with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Freedom of Religion or Belief and engaging with a range of groups in order to improve our policy guidance and develop specialist training for caseworkers to drive further improvement in this important and complex area. The Home Office has not engaged directly with the House of Bishops on this matter.

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