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Ministers of Religion

Minister of Religion – key features

The Minister of Religion visa is a suitable route for people who have been offered a job within a faith community or religious organisation, for example as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order in the UK

To successfully secure a visa, an overseas national will need to have a job offer from a faith-based organisation with an immigration sponsor licence, which covers the Minister of Religion route. If the UK based organisation does not yet hold a licence, the specialist team at Freeths can assist in obtaining this.

To secure a Minister of Religion visa, the candidate must:

  • Be assigned a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) by their proposed UK employer.
  • Demonstrate they have the required level of English language.
  • Receive a salary that is at least that paid to settled workers in the same job and compliant with the national minimum wage requirements in the UK.
  • Have sufficient funds to maintain themselves, although most UK sponsors certify maintenance for their sponsored workers.
  • Have a TB certificate, if required.
  • Have a criminal record certificate, if required.
  • Not own more than 10% of their sponsor’s shares (unless they earn more than £159,600 a year)
  • Not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.

Typical duties

A Minister of Religion’s main regular duties include leading a congregation in performing the rites and rituals of the faith and in preaching the essentials of the creed.

Pastoral duties include:

  • leading worship regularly and on special occasions
  • providing religious education for children and adults by preaching or teaching
  • leading marriages, funerals and other special services
  • offering counselling and welfare support to members of the organisation
  • recruiting, training and co-ordinating work of local volunteers and lay preachers

Length and conditions of stay in the UK

A Minister of Religion can apply for a visa of up to 3 years and 1 month duration initially, however, visas will be granted in accordance with the work start and end data entered onto the Certificate of Sponsorship by the UK sponsoring organisation if this is less than 3 years and 1 month.

The visa can be extended in the UK towards the end of its term.

The Minister of Religion route enables visa holders and their dependants to settle, which means securing indefinite leave to remain, after a period of 5 years’ residence in the UK.

The sponsored worker must work for the sponsor in the role described on their certificate of sponsorship, and they can also undertake a second job in certain circumstances, work on a voluntary basis and study, providing this does not interfere with their main sponsored work.

The partner and children of a Minister of Religion can apply for visa clearance to accompany or join the main applicant.

Sponsored workers and their dependants can access NHS services in the UK. They are not however permitted to access public funds.

How can Freeths help?

Our team of immigration solicitors can deal with all aspects of sponsorship under the Minister of Region category for UK based organisation and the candidates. This includes:

  • Securing your immigration licence for your organisation.
  • Managing your licence by being appointed as Level 1 users.
  • Assessing the recruitment proposal and advising on all aspects of the role.
  • Advising on licence compliance and providing training and support for key members of your team.
  • Securing the required certificate of sponsorship from the Home Office and assigning this to your proposed Minister of Religion.
  • Assessing the candidate’s documentation and preparing and submitting the visa application for the proposed Minister of Religion and their dependants.
  • Liaising with the Home Office throughout the application process, to ensure a successful outcome.

We provide a responsive, full-service approach to ensure every visa matter is dealt with successfully. With Freeths expert immigration support, you can be confident of securing the required immigration permission.

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