16 October 2008

Cricket clubs warned to get UK visa sponsorship licence

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The boards of British cricket clubs are warned to get up-to-date with the new UK visa rules so they may avoid prosecution when recruiting overseas players, reports the Liverpool Daily Post.

The Home Office has introduced changes to the immigration system this year to make it more in tune with the Australian points-based system.  Under the new system for UK migration, applications for migration are separated under five tiers.  Migrants wishing to come to the UK as sports people can apply through two of these tiers; Tier 2 and Tier 5.

Under the Tier 2 category, sports people can apply for a visa if they have an offer of employment.  This is reserved for the first-class counties.  Under Tier 5, sports people can apply for a temporary 12-month visa.  More specifically, players will also need to have played five first-class matches in the past two years and will need to either have or be in training for a Level II coaching qualification. 

The changes mean clubs will also need to have a UK employer sponsorship licence, which will allow the overseas players to obtain a biometric visa from their local British High Commission or Embassy.  The licences will cost £400 and have a four-year expiry date.  The application for an employer sponsorship licence will require support from the England Cricket Board, and copies of club accounts and insurances.  Further, sponsorship licences must be player-specific.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau.

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