Clergy see UK visa applications 'turned down'

21 Jun 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Clergymen are having their UK visa applications turned down due to changes in the income threshold, it has been suggested.

According to reports from All Africa, Lord Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Revd. Nigel Stock, recently told the House of Lords that members of the clergy from Africa responding to invitations to travel to Britain are failing to gain the required UK visa.

He stated: "It seems that a new economic test is being applied to them. Able, well qualified Africans are being invited to conferences in this country and endorsed even by bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury, but are being turned down because their personal income is low.

"As most African clergy live on sacrificial stipends that are intermittently paid, we are wondering whether we can ever invite anyone again from Tanzania."

The issue came up during a session of the UK parliament's second chamber following a question relating to the recent report from the chief inspector of the UK Border Agency.

In response to the Lord Bishop Stock's comments, Lord Henley, who leads all the Home Office business in the Lords, said that the matter would be looked into "very carefully".

He added: "I cannot believe that someone who is being endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury or, for that matter, by any right reverend Prelate, could be turned away.

"I would want to look at that and at the particular circumstances to which the right reverend Prelate has referred. Certainly, we would not want that to be the case."