YWAM “confident” of finding a solution to suspended licence affecting 350 missionary families
“We expect to hear from the UK Visas and Immigration office shortly”, said the charity. “We have been very encouraged by the support and prayers we have had expressed regarding our visa sponsorship licence”.
YWAM, EAUK · LONDON · 15 JANUARY 2015 · 12:20 CET
“We expect to hear from the UK Visas and Immigration office shortly”, said Youth With A Mission (YWAM) spokesperson Tamara Neely to Evangelical Focus regarding the situation concerning 350 missionary families who are at risk of being asked to leave the United Kingdom.
“Having taken care to ensure our protocols are in compliance with current regulations as advised, we have submitted our response to UK Visas and Immigration regarding their concerns and we are confident that we can work with them to ensure that we can meet their high standards for processing visa applications”, said the Christian organisation in their last public update on January 12th.
YWAM describes itself as an “international volunteer movement of Christians from many backgrounds, cultures and Christian traditions, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world,” using “many creative means to make His gospel of good news understood to any audience.”
Many people have shown their support for the YWAM workers in the last few days, especially on social networks. “We have been very encouraged by the support and prayers we have had expressed regarding our visa sponsorship licence”, the spokesperson said.
DIALOGUE WITH GOVERNMENT
In September 2014, YWAM was inspected by UK Visas and Immigration to review the status as a visa sponsor, which allows the organisation to bring missionaries and their families to the UK.
According to the information given by the United Kingdom Evangelical Alliance, “the inspection found YWAM complies with five of the seven areas audited, but found clerical errors with the following two. Plans were put in place to solve these issues immediately, YWAM claim, but they then received notice on 23 December that their licence had been suspended for 20 working days.
During this time, YWAM are able to respond to the issues found, but if the complaints are upheld the licence to sponsor visas could be revoked completely”.
“While we recognise and support the UKVI's legitimate right to concern over compliance to the rules, we do not feel that the issues raised in the letter from the UKVI justify such a draconian outcome as losing our licence would produce,” the charity said earlier this month.
“We are cautiously hopeful that through dialogue and by demonstrating our determination to follow the regulations as carefully as possible they will allow us to continue our operations in the UK as part of a global charitable faith-based movement.”