YWAM England’s official statement:
In September 2014, following procedures introduced by the UK government to reduce immigration numbers, YWAM England and Wales was inspected by the UK Visas & Immigration office to review our status as a visa sponsor. The inspection concluded we were compliant in 5 of the 7 areas audited and found some clerical issues in the remaining two.
We immediately formed a team to rectify these issues and submitted an Action Plan. However, we were warned that we faced the possibility of being downgraded, limiting our sponsorship ability for a few months, or that we would have our license revoked entirely.
We were told we would have a decision from the UKVI office within 4 weeks, but it was only on 23rd December that we were notified that our license has been suspended for 20 working days. During this time we can make a response to what have largely turned out to be fresh issues not raised in the initial inspection. If unsuccessful in our response, the UKVI will pursue revoking our license, as it has already done to several other faith-based organisations this year.
If our visa sponsorship license is revoked over 350 YWAM missionaries and their families will have 60 days to leave the UK. That is about half of our current workforce, all of whom are volunteers with YWAM who support themselves through personal fundraising, according to YWAM’s values as a charitable organisation. This would inevitably mean shutting down some of our training and service opportunities in this nation.
Whilst 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. 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.
We recognise that YWAM has never been the type of organisation which fits neatly into boxes. Nonetheless, we are doing everything we can to comply with the law and ensure that our missionaries remain a blessing to the UK and, through our YWAM England and Wales teams, to the rest of the world that YWAM seeks to share the love of Christ with.
Please pray with us for a favourable resolution to this inquiry. If you would like to write your MP in our support, here is a draft to help you – we need to write urgently, as we only have until January 20th before a decision is made.
Thank you for supporting YWAM England and Wales!
For me and Taryn personally this won’t affect our right to stay in the UK, and the current DTS that we’re involved with will be able to continue and finish regardless. But whether YWAM Cambridge will be able to continue to run the DTS in the near future after that is now a big question.
Anyway, this isn’t the first time we’ve been forced to pray regarding visas — in the past we’ve had both positive breakthroughs and very difficult challenges. And we have learnt both that God is sovereign but also that we have real power in prayer.
So please join us in praying about this situation–the whole of YWAM England will be joining together in prayer today (7th January) regarding this issue.
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask,
it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” Matthew 18:19
(Matthew 7:7-11 , Mt. 18:19 , John 14:13-14 , Jn. 15:7 , Mark 11:23-24 , 2 Cor. 1:20 ; Mark 10: 27 ; 2 Corinthians 1:11 ; Mark 10:9 )