22 January 2009

Zimbabwe cricket chief may have Australian visa troubles

The Australian government warned the chief of Zimbabwe cricket Peter Chingoka on Thursday that he would find it difficult to get an Australian visa to attend an International Cricket Council (ICC) conference, reports AFP.

The Australian immigration department has constructed a list of 254 Zimbabweans who are barred from obtaining an Australian visa because of their involvement with Robert Mugabe's regime. 

It is unsure yet whether Chingoka has applied for an Australian visa, but the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have confirmed his application would need to have substantial grounds for the government to waiver the travel restrictions.

"Australia's sanctions are an important mechanism for applying pressure on the Mugabe regime," a DFAT spokesperson told AAP.

"They send a clear signal that the government holds the Mugabe regime and its closest supporters accountable for the tragedy occurring in Zimbabwe," he said.

This is not the first time Chingoka has hit a barrier trying to attend an ICC meeting; ICC president David Morgan lobbied to the government to have the travel restrictions waivered so that he could attend the meeting in Australia.  Eventually the meeting was rescheduled in a different country. 

Due to similar sanctions posed by the UK immigration department, the ICC meeting at Lord's had to be reconvened in Dubai last year so that Chingoka could attend.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

Article by Editorial Staff, Australian Visa Bureau.

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