Amir can get UK visa if PCB, ECB jointly appeal to visa officer
LONDON—Pakistani cricketer Muhammad Amir will get visa to enter the United Kingdom only if Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the England Cricket Board (ECB) present a joint application to the Entry Clearance Officer in the British High Commission when the convicted cricketer applies for the UK visa, a leading immigration lawyer said on Sunday.
Solicitor Dr Akbar Malik told a TV channel that as per immigrations rules in the UK, Amir can apply for the visa after April 2017. He explained that Amir was convicted and sentenced in November 2011 and sentenced to less than 12 months.
Five years will be completed in November 2016 but the rules state that the visa time period limitation after the jail conviction has been completed so that’s another 6 months in the case of Amir.
He explained that Paragraph 320 of the immigration rules says that: “Grounds on which entry clearance or leave to enter the United Kingdom is to be refused: … (2) the fact that the person seeking entry to the United Kingdom: … (d) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of imprisonment of less than 12 months, unless a period of 5 years has passed since the end of the sentence.”
Dr Akbar Malik said that it will only be in exceptional circumstances that the “public interest in maintaining refusal will be outweighed by compelling factors”. He said that the ECB and the PCB will have to inform the visa officer as to how it’s in the public interest to allow Amir back into the UK “otherwise refusal of visa is mandatory”.
Dr Malik said that Amir’s visa refusal “would not be contrary to the Human Rights Convention or the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, so it will only be in exceptional circumstances that he will be given visa”. He said that a joint application by the ECB and the PCB will clear all hurdles for Amir.
He said: “There is no human rights claim. But, if he is able to show that there are ‘exceptional circumstances’ and ‘compelling facts’ he can get entry before November 2016. If Pakistan and England Cricket Boards are going to make submissions in support of his application, the entry clearance officer may conclude that in this case entry should be granted on the basis of ‘exceptional circumstances’ and ‘compelling facts’, though five years have not yet been passed since the criminal conviction.”
However, he said that in the case of Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif it would be impossible to obtain visa at this stage because Salman Butt was jailed for 30 months for his part in the conspiracy to bowl deliberate no-balls and Mohammad Asif for one year and none of them entered the early guilty plea.
They can apply after ten years have passed because they were convicted for more than a year. He said the refusal of visa is mandatory because “where a person has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to between 12 months and 4 years’ imprisonment, unless a period of 10 years has passed since the end of the sentence”.—Agencies