Domestic cricket in the UK has continued to evolve since the early 2000’s and the UK has become one of the top destinations for first-class domestic cricket. The English Cricket Board (ECB) has heavily invested in the domestic set up and has encouraged domestic clubs to offer lucrative deals to overseas cricketers in a bid to attract attention from a worldwide audience. Overseas cricketers who wish to play domestic cricket in the UK will need to obtain a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa unless they are exempt from the Immigration Rules. European Union citizens are not required to apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa as they can play cricket under their EU Treaty Rights.
Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa for Cricketers
Domestic cricket in the UK experienced a game-changing moment earlier this year as a new TV deal was announced for £1.1bn involving Sky and BBC. The record-breaking TV deal has allowed domestic cricket clubs to sponsor the best cricketers from all around the world to come and play in the domestic competitions in the UK. To name a few talents who have recently played in the UK’s domestic game, Shadid Afridi (Pakistan), Virat Kolhi (India), Ross Taylor (New Zealand) and Steve Smith (Australia).
Elite Tier 2 Sportspersons such as cricketers and cricket coaches who are recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) or by any other recognised governing body may be eligible to apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa. In order to apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa Applicants must meet the Tier 2 Sportsperson visa requirements under paragraph 245 of the Immigration Rules.
Successfully apply to the Home Office for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa
As mentioned above, Non-EEA sportspersons such as cricketers and cricket coaches must satisfy the Tier 2 Sportsperson visa requirements under paragraph 245 of the Immigration Rules. It is also crucial for Applicants to understand the Home Office Policy and Guidance on the Tier 2 Sportsperson visa as the document further expand on the stringent immigration rules and provides valuable information about how to meet the Immigration Rules.
Cricketers and Cricket coaches must meet the following immigration requirements to successfully apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson:
- Applicants must be internationally established as a player or coach at the highest level and their employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK;
- Applicants must intend to be based in the UK for the duration of their permission to stay;
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate that the post could not be filled by a settled worker; and
- Applicants must meet the English language and maintenance requirement.
Cricketers and Cricket Coaches can apply for Tier 2 Sportspersons visa up to 3 months before their first cricket game. A decision is usually made within 3 weeks for Entry Clearance applications. Successful Applicants can come to the UK for a period of up to 3 years and may apply to extend their visa for a maximum stay of 6 years.
Exemption from the Home Office Immigration Rules for Cricket
In some circumstances, cricketers and cricket coaches may not need to apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa. European Economic Area (EEA) national cricketers and coaches can come to the UK as EEA nationals to exercise their European Union Treaty Rights under the EEA Regulations. However, it remains unclear what the position for EEA cricketers and coaches would post Brexit. The UK Government has not provided any indication of whether the fundamental principles of free movement will be limited or totally abolished post-Brexit. Anyone applying from outside the EEA will be required apply for a Tier 2 Sportsperson visa.
Using Legal Representation to Submit a Tier 2 Sportspersons visa Application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a Tier 2 Sportspersons visa application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Tier 2 Sportspersons visa application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your Tier 2 Sportspersons visa application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful Tier 2 Sportspersons visa application
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your Tier 2 Sportspersons visa application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of your Tier 2 Sportspersons visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA is just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful application. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.