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NCU Statement On Revised Home Office Visa Arrangements

NCU

The NCU Directors met on Saturday 25th February to discuss the changes in the Home Office immigration rules and enforcement arrangements relating to overseas cricketers for the 2017 season.  These have recently been revised by the Home Office and apply to all clubs within Northern Ireland.

The changes, to be operated and enforced by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), a division of the Home Office, mean that only Tier 5 migrant workers will be allowed to play in the NCU Premier League.  Clubs must have a current sponsor licence and must be able to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship following the issuing of a Cricket Ireland endorsement.  In order to obtain UKVI/Cricket Ireland endorsement, the player must have an ECB/UKCC Level 2 (or equivalent) cricket coaching qualification.  He will also need to obtain first aid and child protection training certificates as well as police clearance from his country of residence.

The rules also state that Standard Visitor Visa (SVV) holders cannot play for NCU Premier League clubs, but may play in Senior League Sections 1 and 2.  Players entering on SVVs must be amateur cricketers and are not allowed to be paid a salary for playing or coaching, though they may receive financial assistance towards flights, accommodation and living expenses.  The revised Home Office definition of an amateur is: "An 'Amateur' is a person who engages in a sport or creative activity solely for personal enjoyment and who is not seeking to derive a living from the activity.  This also includes a person playing or coaching in a charity game."

The NCU Directors have considered all available information on this matter, including confirmation from the Home Office and Cricket Ireland, and representations from NCU clubs.  The Directors can confirm that these changes have been made mandatory by the Home Office and therefore need to be applied with immediate effect.

Clubs are advised that the responsibility for ensuring that players meet the Home Office criteria lies with them.  Neither the NCU nor Cricket Ireland is qualified to give advice on immigration matters.

If clubs require more information, they should study the guidance available on the Home Office website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules or contact UKVI direct.