The England Cricket Board (ECB)have recently decided to assist Pakistani fast bowler Mohammed Amir with his application to obtain a UK Tier 2 visa for Pakistan’s upcoming tour of England which is set to begin on 14th July 2016. The 24 year old cricket star who previously toured England in 2010 was banned from cricket for five years, following a spot-fixing scandal in 2010 which resulted in a six months sentence in a young offenders institute in 2011. However since then Amir has made a comeback to international cricket and has toured New Zealand and participated in the T20 World Cup in India. We explore the Cricket star’s options of obtaining a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa.
Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
The route is for elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK. Therefore if Mohammed Amir wants to be involved in the upcoming tour against England, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will need to obtain a Tier 2 sportsperson visa for him. Sportspersons outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are required to obtain a Tier 2 sportspersons visas, these applications are made by elite sportsperson or qualified coaches recognised by the sport’s governing body at the highest level.
PCB chief Shaharyar Khan has stated that”I have written a letter to the high commissioner seeking special and sympathetic consideration on Amir’s visa. The England and Wales Cricket Board is also assisting and are in touch with their home department, so we hope for a positive response.
Mohammed Amir would be expected to make a significant contribution to the development of cricket in the UK because sportspersons are required to promote the development of their chosen sport. Mohammed Amir would need to meet the following requirements; he would need to have a certificate of sponsorship reference number from his sponsor so this should be provided by the PCB as well as;
- Meet the English Language requirements; and
- Meet the Maintenance requirements. currently £945 in the Applicant’s bank for 90 days.
Tier 2 sportspersons visas are very common; previously footballers such as Marcos Rojo and Wellington Silva have faced obstacles in applications for Tier 2 Sportspersons visas. Both footballers were eventually granted their visas.
UK Immigration Rules: General Grounds for Refusal
One key issue will be ensuring that Mohammed Amir’s visa is not refused under the general grounds for refusal due to his previous criminal conviction.
The Immigration Rules include some general grounds for refusing applications that would otherwise be granted. This includes at paragraph 320, Grounds on which entry clearance or leave to enter the United Kingdom is to be refused
- (d) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of less than 12 months, unless a period of 5 years has passed since the end of the sentence.
it will only be in exceptional circumstances that the public interest in maintaining refusal will be outweighed by compelling factors. Therefore the ECB and PCB will need to make a compelling argument on the bowler’s behalf if he is to be able to obtain this visa.
Legal Advice & Successful Tier 2 Sportsperson Applications
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a visa application to the UK step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.There are exemptions to the above which is something that can be explored with our expert Immigration Solicitors.
If you wish to apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa, Our expert team of lawyers can assess your matter in more detail to ensure that you are eligible for this UK visa route under the Immigration Rules and assist you in the preparation of the application. We will ensure that all key points are substantiated with documentary evidence thereby leading to a successful application and avoiding unnecessary expense of re submitting your application to the Home Office.