Bishop of Exeter asks about seasonal workers in the horticultural industry

The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answer on 10th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase the number of visas for seasonal workers given the estimated £60 million losses by the horticultural industry for the first half of this year’s growing season.

Continue reading “Bishop of Exeter asks about seasonal workers in the horticultural industry”

Nationality and Borders Bill 2022: Bishop of Chelmsford speaks on amendments relating to visa penalties

On 8th March 2022, the House of Lords debated the Nationality and Borders Bill in the 3rd day of its report stage. The Bishop of Chelmsford spoke in the debate, raising concerns regarding amendments tabled by Baroness Williams of Trafford which would “allow visa penalties to be extended to countries that present a risk to international peace and security, or whose actions lead or are likely to lead to armed conflict or a breach of humanitarian law.”

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, for his comments and I will add a few further thoughts.

I appreciate that the intent of these proposed new clauses is to bring additional sanction pressure on Russia, and perhaps also other states which threaten peace and security. However, I ask whether there are any concerns that, in practice, this provision may make it more difficult for a critic of, for example, the Putin regime, to reach the UK in safety. Such a person—perhaps one of those involved in the courageous protests against the current war—might seek to reunite with family in the UK for their own safety. They would require a valid visa, not least since the Bill makes it so much harder for those arriving without a visa to apply for refugee status. Is the Minister at all concerned that additional costs and barriers to obtaining a visa may invertedly hurt people seeking to escape authoritarian regimes, and who would be eligible for a visa to come here, more than it would actually hurt the regime itself?

Continue reading “Nationality and Borders Bill 2022: Bishop of Chelmsford speaks on amendments relating to visa penalties”

Bishop of Bristol asks Government about visas routes for those vulnerable to trafficking

On 28th July the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, received written answers to three questions on overseas domestic workers, and seasonal  workers (both areas vulnerable to  modern slavery and human trafficking).


The Lord Bishop of Bristol: HL6880 To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to publish further details about any changes to the routes of entry to the UK for overseas domestic workers.

Baroness Williams of Trafford: Our broad approach for January 2021 will be to maintain the existing provisions for overseas domestic workers, expanding this route to include EU citizens.

Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks Government about visas routes for those vulnerable to trafficking”

Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill

On 22nd July the Government’s Immigration and Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill was debated at Sec0nd Reading in the House of Lords. The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, and the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, spoke in the debate, highlighting modern slavery, work eligibility, EU citizens, visas for ministers of religion, tariffs, and children’s welfare.

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the introduction of this Bill in another place is a signal opportunity for Her Majesty’s Government comprehensively to reset the legislative basis for immigration control in this country, to set out a vision for doing so, and to rationalise and streamline the more than 1,000 pages of immigration legislation under which we labour. It is surprising, therefore, that, as other speakers have pointed out, this Bill is so narrow in scope. Continue reading “Bishops of Southwark and Bristol highlight concerns with Government’s Immigration Bill”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about visas for ministers of religion

On 23rd March 2020 the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received a written answer to a question on visas for ministers of religion:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL2370 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the UK’s points-based immigration system: policy statement, published on 19 February, what changes, if any, they plan to make to the existing Tier 2 Minister of Religion Category.

Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about visas for ministers of religion”

Bishop of Worcester calls for simplification of visa rules for Commonwealth countries

On 19th November 2014, Lord Lea of Crondall asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any proposal to other European Union member states, either severally or collectively, which would limit (1) the right of United Kingdom citizens to live and work in other European Union member states, or (2) the parallel right of citizens of other European Union member states to live and work in the United Kingdom. The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd John Inge, asked a supplementary question:

WorcesterThe Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, the Minister mentioned the reputation that this country has for hospitality. Is he aware of an associated issue: the difficulty that members of the Commonwealth face in obtaining a visa even to visit, let alone to work and live in this country, which seriously hampers a lot of very important overseas links with dioceses, including my own—so much so that my friends in Tanzania were unable to be present at my wife’s funeral earlier this year? Is that sort of impediment government policy and, if not, can he assure us that it will be addressed?

Lord Bates: We very much encourage people to come to this country, whether to study or to work. We want to encourage the best and the brightest to come to this country, as well as tourists; there are many people we want to encourage—but there is a difference between that and people who significantly abuse the system in coming here because of benefits.


Visas for Overseas Church Representatives – Bishop of Chelmsford Question

On 22nd September 2014 the Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, received an answer to a question on the issuing of visas to representatives of overseas churches.
14.06.09 Chelmsford 2

Home Office – Entry Clearances
Asked by the Lord Bishop of Chelmsford on 01 September 2014 (HL1763):
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to review the criteria for giving visas to overseas church representatives in cases where all fares and expenses are guaranteed by a United Kingdom church body.

Maiden speech by the Bishop of Portsmouth – Higher Education

On 9th April 2014 the Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster, gave his maiden speech in a House of Lords debate to take note of Higher Education in the UK.

14.04.09 Portsmouth maiden speech 1

Bishop Christopher focused his remarks on his diocese, the important role of Portsmouth University, access for international students and on local economic disadvantage. His speech in full is below: Continue reading “Maiden speech by the Bishop of Portsmouth – Higher Education”

“Problematic” UK visa and immigration system affecting international work of churches – speech by Bishop of Chester

when we try to get the visa and immigration authorities to tell us what we have to do as a diocese and what the conditions are, we find that letters get lost. My colleague who deals with this is in despair. We write letters but nothing comes back. Time is ticking away and the training curacy of the chap I am talking about is coming to an end.” – Bishop of Chester

Lord Steel of Aikwood tabled a question for short debate: ‘to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the operation and accountability of UK Visas and Immigration. The Bishop of Chester raised some examples of failures in the system.

The Lord Bishop of Chester:

14.03 Bishop of ChesterMy Lords, I associate myself very closely with all that has been said, although the second half of the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, focused a bit too much on mammon for my level of expertise. However, I take him as an authority on that aspect. The introduction the noble Lord, Lord Steel, gave, was powerful and shocking in equal measure, and made the case on its own. I can say to the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Jones, that I am aware of the Hereford situation; indeed, clergy are among those who are able to come under the scheme she mentioned.

Continue reading ““Problematic” UK visa and immigration system affecting international work of churches – speech by Bishop of Chester”

Bishop of Truro calls for improvement in mechanisms to allow overseas clergy to visit UK

On 9th December 2013, the Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to improve the official information available, including on the United Kingdom Border Agency website, for long- and short-term visitors to the United Kingdom, and in particular artists and entertainers.

The Bishop of Truro asked a supplementary question:

Bishop of Truro 20.6.13The Lord Bishop of Truro: My Lords, I do not wish to argue that all clergy are entertainers as that would not be true in my experience. But can the Minister comment on the frustration felt again and again by Christian people—clergy and others, especially from Africa—who are invited by dioceses in this country with expenses guaranteed? They have to travel long distances and are not always able to access websites to apply for a visa and are then faced with delay or refusal based on the assumption that they will not return home to their families and responsibilities.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I am sure the right reverend Prelate will be aware of the responsibility on all Border Agency staff to deal judiciously with these matters. However, they can act only on the information that they have when people present themselves for entry. I hope that the new website will make it much easier for everybody to come here. If anybody is organising an event which involves people coming from overseas, they have an opportunity, in a spirit of partnership, to make sure that everybody is aware of the documentation they require. There is no difficulty getting that documentation provided the application is made.


%d bloggers like this: