When Immigration Matters

Visa Program for Religious Workers Extended

Posted by Michael Pollak on Mon, Nov 02, 2009 @ 10:06 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. - When President Obama signed the Homeland Security Appropriations Act on October 28, he also put into effect a 3-year extension of the Religious Worker Visa Program (RWVP).  The program will now extend to September 30, 2012. The extension was the result of an intensive lobbying effort by several religious organizations.

Congress enacted the RWVP nearly twenty years ago as a new "special immigration" visa category that for the first time, would allow foreign religious workers and functionaries to come to the United States and, under the sponsorship of American religious organizations, help serve the needs of their respective communities.  The legislation authorized up to 5,000 visas for religious workers and was subject to a 3-year "sunset provision" - which was quickly coming to an end.  The reauthorization is significant for religious groups as it helps bring in additional teachers, functionaries, and charity workers to strenghten insititutions and the community.

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