24 April 2009

Another sports star misses Australian visa grant

The Australian visa application for Fijian rugby league player Inoke Ratu has been denied yet again. Ratu, who is looking to sign up with the Western Bulldogs, is not allowed to enter Australia on any Australian visa type because of his father's links to the military.

All Australian visa applications for Fijian nationals who have links to the despotic Fijian military will be denied by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship until further notice.  The military overthrew the ruling government in a coup in 2006, and have not since relinquished their power despite pressure from Australia and New Zealand.

Ratu applied for an Australian visa so that he could play for the Western Bulldogs this season, but had it denied because of the Australian visa sanction held against Fijians linked to their country's military regime.  While the club is not ruling out the possibility of having the decision overturned, recent news from the Fijian military is making his chances seem slimmer – the acting Fijian President this month strengthened its military powers, scrapped the country's constitution and dissolved its judiciary, plus announcing that elections would not be held within the next five years.  

"Our optimism isn't increasing with the news but we're not giving up as such," Real Footy News reported Simon Dalrymple, Bulldog's recruitment manager, as saying.

"We've got a two-year agreement with the boy, so legally — and morally — we'd stick with that. We'll speak to the Government and the people that have been lobbying the Government on our behalf, but the latest developments aren't a positive, put it that way.

"I'm meeting with the AFL Oceania representative on Friday to get the latest update from him and then we'll know a bit more about (it)."

Ratu and another player Solomon Loki will have training sessions run by a supervisor, as well as be required to play in the new AFL competition starting in Fiji next month. 

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have not commented on Ratu's Australian visa application.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

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