Brent and Harrow
5 May 2016 Vote for
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London
Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
Labour Party Londonwide

Campaigns

Easing the Visa Regime for Visiting Pujaris

London’s Temples and the Plight of Pujaris

 

For the last eight years or so, as both Councillor and London Assembly Member I get regularly contacted by temples in Harrow about immigration problems with Visas for Pujaris from India who perform non-pastoral functions.  Harrow’s temples are not alone facing such problems.  The situation arises largely due to immigration bureaucracy and a lack of sensitivity and understanding of the role of Pujaris. Having taken up a wider role as an Assembly Member I have now taken the opportunity to address this issue together with other headaches Temples and Community Centres regularly face such as planning, parking, funding, council tax rebates and so on.

 

As a first step to start examining the issues facing Temples I organised a conference of London’s Temples in May 2009, the objective being to bring together all temples to tackle problems with a collective approach and speak with ‘one voice’. This is the only way there is an opportunity and hope to be heard.  There was consensus amongst the representatives that still the Home Office / civil Service has not quite understood the real roles performed by Pujaris and that there was no justification and a good deal of difficulty in the current 2 year entry clearance granted to Pujaris, with the requirement to reapply on the expiry of the first year.

 

The conference has since formed a working group for an effective and speedy solution to this difficult area of immigration policy. The group agreed to prepare its own response to the recent Home Office Questionnaire. We’d contacting all temples in London to ensure that they send their responses to enable the Home Office to evaluate the impact of the current protocols. The ultimate intention is to work with UK wide organisations for a nationwide response to the Home Office. For further information please email me on navin.shah@london.gov.uk.

Permanent link to this article
22nd September 2010