The Home Office has announced that it will review a decision to prevent a delegation of Pakistani Christians visiting Glasgow.

The move follows accusations that bureaucracy is harming the ability of churches to build links internationally.

Two senior members of the Church of Pakistan had been invited to the city as part of a twinning project with the Church of Scotland’s Presbytery of Glasgow.

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But their applications to enter the UK were turned down even though the Kirk said that it would pay for the trip.

Officials said that they feared the visitors would overstay their visas and remain in the UK illegally.

And they warned that unless the financial circumstances of both men changed future applications were "likely to be refused... not subject to appeal".

The Church of Scotland has criticised the Home Office, complaining that red tape is harming its efforts to build links with other Christian communities.

Now Conservative immigration minister Robert Goodwill has announced that both decisions will be reviewed.

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP MP for East Renfrewshire who raised the case with Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions last week, said: “I hope that the review promised by the minister will be successful.

"The initial response of the Home Office was completely unacceptable, suggesting the visitors were not genuine, and when I raised this with the leader of the House, he spoke about the need for people to return home after visits.

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"The Immigration Minister also wrote to me telling me how to apply for a visa. These responses were – of course- unhelpful nonsense.

"I welcome the Minister’s new approach and tone – and hope that we can sort this out and resolve it.’’

In a letter to Ms Oswald, Mr Goodwill said that he had asked for both decisions "to be reviewed”.

He also told her that he apologised "if you found my previous response to be unhelpful".

In response to the questions at PMQs, Mrs May said that the UK operated a “very clear” visa system and that decisions were “taken according to its rules”, but suggested that ministers would look at the case.

The new review was welcomed by the Very Rev Bill Hewitt, the joint clerk of Glasgow Presbytery.

He said: “This a welcome development and we would be delighted if our friends from Pakistan were able to come to Glasgow.

“They were very welcoming when a delegation from Glasgow visited the Diocese of Hyderabad last year and we very much want them to come here so they can share in the life of the Presbytery and give the twinning partnership real meaning.”

Glasgow Presbytery said that the two Pakistan Christians had been left “personally depressed and shocked” by the situation.

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The kirk has warned that the decision has frustrated it efforts to build a partnership with people of faith in the country.

It has also called for a meeting with Conservative ministers to discuss the case.

The Home Office said that it did not comment on individual cases.