Feds Look to Land Foreign Preachers

December 5, 2006


Source: Toronto Sun


TORONTO -- Federal immigration officials are working to fast track foreign religious leaders into Canada as landed immigrants after being pressured by ethnic communities nationwide.

Immigration Minister Monte Solberg is studying ways of granting priests and monks permanent resident status since many arrive as visitors to work in churches but fail to pass the required tests to remain as immigrants.

"We are looking at ways to make it easier for religious workers to apply as permanent residents," Solberg's spokesman Pema Lhalungpa confirmed yesterday.

Lhalungpa said Solberg will be in India next month for a first-hand look.

Toronto lawyer Mendel Green said many foreign priests are not accepted as landed immigrants because they have poor English and French language skills.

"This is a tremendous problem for the respective communities," Green said yesterday. "The minister has undertaken a review of the selection process for religious workers."