11 May 2009

Michael Crocker's UK visa application denied for final time

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Michael Crocker's UK visa application to play for Hull FC has been denied for the second and final time, reports the BBC News.

The Australian Test forward and player for the Melbourne Storm has had his UK visa application to play in the UK finally decided upon.  After having his UK visa application rejected in the first instance in January on account of previous criminal convictions, the rugby league star had his appeal and second UK visa application rejected this month. 

While Hull FC has expressed disappointment that Crocker will not be playing for them this year, they are relieved that the situation has been clarified. 

"I wish to thank Michael for his loyalty and patience throughout this period, which I know has been hugely stressful for him and his wife Sally," said Hull FC chief executive James Rule.

"As a club we tried everything we could think of to bring Michael into the country, which included contacting West Hull MP and Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson."

Rule added, the club will now be able to continue recruitment for 2010 knowing that Crocker will not be a member of the team.  The club is also waiting for New Zealand rugby league player Hame Lauaki to have his UK visa application approved, but the odds are more than likely in favour to have his application approved.

Crocker is not the first player to run into trouble with the new points-based UK immigration system; cricket player Chris Rogers missed the opening matches as captain for his Derbyshire team because his first UK visa application was rejected because of a technicality, and Todd Carney remained unsuccessful in his UK visa application to play league in Britain because of a previous conviction.

As of 27th November last year, sportspeople looking to play in the UK have to apply for a UK visa under Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the new points-based system for UK immigration. 

Under the Tier 2 category for migration, skilled workers from outside the EU who have a job offer from licensed sponsors with a valid Employer Sponsorship Licence can apply for a UK visa as part of the points-based system.  To be able to apply, applicants must have a valid sponsorship certificate and pass the points test.  There are four categories for application under Tier 2 including skilled workers, intra-company transfers, ministers of religion and sportspeople.

Tier 5 of the points-based system allows temporary workers from outside the EU who have a job offer from licensed sponsors to apply for a UK visa.  To be able to apply, applicants must also have a valid sponsorship certificate and pass the points test.  Besides sports workers, Tier 5 has five categories for immigration including creative workers, charity workers, religious workers, government authorised exchange workers, and international agreement workers.


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