Law Requiring English Test for Hindu Priests Abandoned

December 19, 2005

Source: Hindu Council UK Press Release

On December 19, 2005 a Hindu Council UK Press Release reported, "'Minister, Thank you very much!' was the sentiment expressed by Anil Bhanot, the General Secretary of Hindu Council UK, to the Immigration Minister, Tony McNulty MP, after the Minister explained his review and proposals on the Ministers of Religion Legislation. Tony McNulty explained a number of issues in the overall package, which he said will also tie in with the point based system to come into force in about 18 months time. For settlement in the UK, the Ministers will still have to demonstrate a citizenship test but the period will be extended from 2 years to 4 years as in normal cases. The Minister said that he saw no reason why a shorter term should apply to Ministers of Religion. However the English test requirement will be raised from an IELTS level 4 to level 6. Significantly, however, the Minister has created another category, Religious Workers, who will not be required to pass any such test. Religious workers would fall under a non-pastoral, a non-preaching role, and he said that the Hindu Priests, namely, Bhandaries (cooks), Puraanies (scriptures) and Pujaaries (ceremonies) will fall under this category while the Hindu Sadhus and Swamis who do preach will fall under the former Ministers of Religion category."