County news May 8, 2012

Starc deported over visa error

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Mitchell Starc, the Australia left-arm quick, will not be able to make his Yorkshire debut this week after being deported following a visa error that initially led to him being detained at Heathrow for more than four hours.

He has been instructed to fly halfway around the world, fill in a couple of forms correctly and then fly all the way back again. His girlfriend has been allowed to stay in England.

During Tuesday, Yorkshire were still hopeful of clearing up the situation but late in the afternoon Starc tweeted: "Well that's a first! Being deported from England.. Surely nothing else can go wrong can it?!?!" He expanded later: "Visa issue. Incorrect communication from aus. Will be straight back to UK ASAP once sorted.

Starc aims to be available for next week's match against Hampshire. What phsyical state he is in remains to be seen.

Colin Graves, Yorkshire's chairman, put the blame on Starc's agent. "The whole thing to be honest is a fiasco," he said. "This to me just shows that you get good agents and bad agents, and this agent hasn't done a proper job.

"We've got everything right, and Cricket Australia will look at it and say he's got what's required, and after that it's down to the agent. You can't blame the English authorities, they've got rules and regulations, and he didn't have the proper paperwork."

With Yorkshire mired in debt, Graves insisted that he would not be paying the return air fare. "We've told them straight, we're not paying the airfare again," he added. "We paid originally but now it's down to them."

Yorkshire had initially blamed Cricket Australia for filling out an incorrect visa form, bringing swift denials that they were not involved in the visa application process.

"Mitchell is on annual leave and decided to organise a short-term contract with Yorkshire. It has absolutely nothing to do with us," a CA spokesman told AFP. "We have sent plenty of people to England and know all the requirements. Saying that, we have made it clear that if Mitchell needs our help, we are happy to do that."

The latest visa delay - three West Indies cricketers have also been held up by visa issues ahead of their tour of England - brings into question whether UK visa policy is quick and flexible enough to deal with elite sportsmen and women who regularly come and go to the UK on profesisonal sports contracts.

Yorkshire's frustration follows their stand-off with their England pace bowler, Ajmal Shahzad, who has upped sticks to Lancashire after a long-running dispute over his reluctance to bowl in the approved style.

Earlier Yorkshire's captain, Andrew Gale said: "I don't think Australia filled out a form correctly when he was out in the West Indies, and he spent four or five hours being questioned in the airport. If we can't sort it out, we'll have to drop him at Heathrow on the way down to Bristol."

Yorkshire will definitely have Tim Bresnan available for his third Championship match of the summer after England decided that he would benefit from another bowling workout ahead of the first Test against West Indies at Lord's next week.

Starc was due to play four Championship matches in a deal that, initially at least, only lasts five weeks. He could conceivably be called up for Australia's ODI series in England between June 21 and July 10, and a subsequent Australia A tour between July 27 and August 17.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on May 10, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - who plays Cybil??

  • VijayEden on May 10, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    Just returned back to OZ after visiting 12 countries in the last 5 weeks and we had NO visa issues and we had NO agent representing us!! You dont need to be a brain surgeon to meet the relevant requirements and fill in the necesary forms before leaving shore!!

  • disco_bob on May 10, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    How can Starc be so irresponsible. If you need a visa then you have to get a visa, and then you either have it or you don't. It's not rocket science.

  • Meety on May 10, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding - history repeating itself?

  • dunger.bob on May 9, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    If you can sneak him past the razor wire and get him on the field, hopefully Starc will do a job for you. Tall left hander with good pace and a decent change of pace as well. He can swing the ball, mainly away from the left handed batsman but his main wicket taking asset is the occasional steep bounce he gets. ... also seems quite handy with the bat. ... Starc is only a kid and has a lot to learn but I think he could become a fixture in the Aussie team (mainly because of his cacky handedness) if he can knock a few of the rough edges off. .. anyway, good luck to him and also Yorkshire. ..

  • on May 9, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    @caveman. The BCCI was not blamed for this because they are not responsible for this. WE only blame BCCI for what they are responsible fo.r

  • yorkshirematt on May 9, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    @Benn Kempster. That would be the better option but yorkshire, of all counties, have always been reluctant to go down the oversea player option. I think I am right in thinking that only two (three when starc signs) of our first team squad are from outside Yorkshire: Phil Jaques and Gary Ballance. Virtually a fully home grown squad compared to other counties. Also with our Australian connections with Gillespie as coach it does make sense. Starc may turn out to be a flop but only time will tell but Yorkshire need some more depth in the bowling department, and what better way to get that than signing an Australian test bowler

  • thebrownie on May 9, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    @legaleagle: I might have been wrong about the stamp on the passport. But Starc is not a crimina/illegall to have been "deported" from the country or refused entry. He could have entered as a tourist. Of course for him to "work" he needed the right paper work for which ne had to go back to Australia. He would have contravened the immigration laws only if he had played after entering as a tourist.

  • JohnMitchell on May 9, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    David Hopps is absolutely right. Use a tiny bit of discretion and let the guy in.

  • dunger.bob on May 9, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    As Richie would say, a bit of a schoolboy error.

  • Meety on May 10, 2012, 5:48 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - who plays Cybil??

  • VijayEden on May 10, 2012, 1:43 GMT

    Just returned back to OZ after visiting 12 countries in the last 5 weeks and we had NO visa issues and we had NO agent representing us!! You dont need to be a brain surgeon to meet the relevant requirements and fill in the necesary forms before leaving shore!!

  • disco_bob on May 10, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    How can Starc be so irresponsible. If you need a visa then you have to get a visa, and then you either have it or you don't. It's not rocket science.

  • Meety on May 10, 2012, 0:07 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding - history repeating itself?

  • dunger.bob on May 9, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    If you can sneak him past the razor wire and get him on the field, hopefully Starc will do a job for you. Tall left hander with good pace and a decent change of pace as well. He can swing the ball, mainly away from the left handed batsman but his main wicket taking asset is the occasional steep bounce he gets. ... also seems quite handy with the bat. ... Starc is only a kid and has a lot to learn but I think he could become a fixture in the Aussie team (mainly because of his cacky handedness) if he can knock a few of the rough edges off. .. anyway, good luck to him and also Yorkshire. ..

  • on May 9, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    @caveman. The BCCI was not blamed for this because they are not responsible for this. WE only blame BCCI for what they are responsible fo.r

  • yorkshirematt on May 9, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    @Benn Kempster. That would be the better option but yorkshire, of all counties, have always been reluctant to go down the oversea player option. I think I am right in thinking that only two (three when starc signs) of our first team squad are from outside Yorkshire: Phil Jaques and Gary Ballance. Virtually a fully home grown squad compared to other counties. Also with our Australian connections with Gillespie as coach it does make sense. Starc may turn out to be a flop but only time will tell but Yorkshire need some more depth in the bowling department, and what better way to get that than signing an Australian test bowler

  • thebrownie on May 9, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    @legaleagle: I might have been wrong about the stamp on the passport. But Starc is not a crimina/illegall to have been "deported" from the country or refused entry. He could have entered as a tourist. Of course for him to "work" he needed the right paper work for which ne had to go back to Australia. He would have contravened the immigration laws only if he had played after entering as a tourist.

  • JohnMitchell on May 9, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    David Hopps is absolutely right. Use a tiny bit of discretion and let the guy in.

  • dunger.bob on May 9, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    As Richie would say, a bit of a schoolboy error.

  • on May 9, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    A citizen of Australia, probably the most precious jewel of the English crown, being deported merely on a visa error?

  • on May 9, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    Whats going on? First the WI players now this. Have all these cricketers no idea how to fill in forms or has the recent strengthening of the visa requirements gone too far. I fear a farce if this is not sorted out before the Olympics. Of course we need rules determining who can enter the country but it helps if they are good rules.

  • on May 9, 2012, 11:23 GMT

    The English didn't want him to come because they would be afraid he may get the experience of playing in English conditions which will give him the advantage of playing in next years ashes series. That is very funny.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 9, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    @spence1324, but he could have gone to France on a Holiday Visa, though the rules are that if you are found in breach of the visa you are generally returned to the country of Origin...I would have thought the Visa would have been issued by the British embassy/consulate in australia, rather than on arrival....However it is ironic that An Aussie got deported.

  • on May 9, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    What makes Starc so special? Why don't Yorkshire employ the services of a young, English-qualified bowler? Surely that would be the simplest, quickest, financially beneficial and, oh, yeah.........most beneficial to the development of home-grown talent manner of going about things?

    No wonder Shazad caused ructions.

  • on May 9, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Airport authorities are jealous in every country. It's not first time of hearing like this news. It's happening worldwide even with the well knows figures. No wonder, they may send Obama back to US to fill couple of forms.!!

  • RednWhiteArmy on May 9, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    The aussies really are useless!

    I know its only a 5 match series but im predicting 6-0 to England

  • CricketPissek on May 9, 2012, 9:40 GMT

    What makes the author think cricketers should be above the law? There are thousands of people who fill in these same forms to enter the UK on a daily basis. People who live and work in the UK have to pay thousands of pounds and apply and reapply for visas on an annual/biennial basis regularly. If the paperwork hasn't been done correctly, you are given a chance to resubmit during a probation period or risk being sent back home (or if you're at the border, refused entry). Is the UK border agency meant to treat sportsmen differently? I am the last person to defend the UKBA and its practices, but I think they were spot on with treating this case.

  • Bramblefly on May 9, 2012, 9:27 GMT

    Sam in Colombia - If Starc does qualify for a British passport and England, he'll have to take his place at the back end of a long queue of better English fast bowlers. A full time career in county cricket beckons. Might be a better option than the Australian side for the next few years.

  • on May 9, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    Quite right, too. Mr Starc can count himself extremely lucky that he wasn't clapped in irons, tarred & feathered, & sent back to Australia with a tattoo on his forehead emblazoned with the legend "Wild Colonial Boy".

  • jerryt on May 9, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    Starc has not been "Deported". That is something which is usually for serious criminals. It appears that he has been refused entry to the UK. Looks like he was given "temporary admission" and has decided not to appeal against the refusal of entry clearance but to return to Aus to get things right and has therefore returned voluntarily. For those who do not wish to return voluntarily the procedure is "administrative removal". Similar things happen daily to lesser mortals, and many successfully appeal against the decisions of over zealous immigration officers who see it as their life's mission to keep as many foreigners out of the country asap. I am surprised that his visa was not checked by the Yorkshire lawyers before he left Aus. They are under a duty to inspect the visas of all foreign workers.

  • Somerset-Richard on May 9, 2012, 7:46 GMT

    So Starc has been sent back to Aus to fill in a couple of forms and bring them back to the UK wth him? Am I the only one who sees this as sheer lunacy? Surely the necessary forms could be emailed or faxed to the UK in minutes and, assuming that Starc isn't a convict and that his paperwork is in order, he could be admitted immediately.

  • jmcilhinney on May 9, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    @MAK123 on (May 09 2012, 05:32 AM GMT), I'd go more with the Fawlty Towers analogy... with CA as Basil and Starc as Manuel.

  • jonesy2 on May 9, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    samincolumbia -- haha brilliant.

    yorkshire will be hoping he gets back quickly.

  • spence1324 on May 9, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    I think starc should check his history books because he his not the first australian to get deported from the uk......,as for him staying in france the rules are pretty clear any non EU citizen needs a visa to work in the EU.

  • MAK123 on May 9, 2012, 5:32 GMT

    @Meety: Agree wholeheartedly on the Yes Prime Minister bit...but then that's how you can recognize a Brit in a mob of a thousand different people:-)))

  • Caveman. on May 9, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Its a shame that the paperwork wasn't appropriate. But I am surprised ... So far, BCCI has not been blamed for this one.

  • jmcilhinney on May 9, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    @Tomek on (May 08 2012, 16:25 PM GMT), and who is going to pay for the security at this "secure place"? Maybe that's what they are doing and the secure place is Christmas Island. Britain is not responsible for housing people who can't fill out forms correctly, whether they are professional sports people or not.

  • SRT_GENIUS on May 9, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    Well.. if you guys think this was stupid, this stuff happens to "normal" people all the time.

  • Legaleagle on May 9, 2012, 3:25 GMT

    @the brownie- first of all, may be you are pretending to be a half baked immigration lawyer. For your information- there is NO deported stamp for passports!! For simple reason that it contravenes the Geneva convention. Anyone who has been removed or deported may be given a form or a stamp that states the specific section of that immigration Act. Second, anyone who is found to be in contravention of immigration rules of a particular country can be removed, deported, sent home or voluntarily leave- whatever you call it. Such removal/deportation is regardless of the fact that Starc is from a visa exempt country. Moreover, very regularly, people from visa exempt countries are not only deported but also slapped with a ban from entering UK.

  • Meety on May 9, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    @Francis Fabian - this is a bit like something out of Yes-Minister or Faulty Towers. You'd think this could be sorted out without having to get back in the plane. If he really had to leave the country why not just wait in France? Bet the person who filled out that form at Cric Oz would NOT be on Starc's Xmas card list!

  • Phat-Boy on May 9, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    Interesting to see if the anti-WICB fans are reading this article.

  • Meety on May 8, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    @hhillbumper - it was Hilditch's fault!

  • samincolumbia on May 8, 2012, 22:57 GMT

    Does Starc qualify for a British passport since he was in England for 4 long hours!! ECB should look into it!! HA...

  • SurlyCynic on May 8, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    Francis Fabian - The law is that if you enter the UK to work you need a work visa not a holiday visa. If you are on a holiday and want to stay to work you have to leave and apply for a UK work visa in your home country. Unfortunately they couldn't change the law in two days (whether it is right or 'wrong') because an Aussie cricketer applied for the wrong visa.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on May 8, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Understood he told Border Control that he'd just come from winning a Test series in the West Indies. Obviously being Englishmen they regarded this as a fantastic story and deeply suspicious.

  • on May 8, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    So . . . they don't have fax machines in Britain???? Or maybe the documents could be emailed ????

    What a very strange thing. Waste of money, time, petrol, the environment. My calendar says it's the 21st century.

    Could be worse I suppose. A 100 years ago he'd have to catch a boat back to Australia.

  • on May 8, 2012, 21:54 GMT

    Where are the WICB bashers now?,deafening silence,this proves this can happen to anyone now ,is that not true?

  • hhillbumper on May 8, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Randy Oz will no doubt be on here soon claiming that Starc is an all time great and Aussie Border control are better than the UK. Bit supirsed by this though.I thought CA were the worlds greatest board?

  • Mitcher on May 8, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    Umm, has anyone blamed the ECB? Talk about defensive paranoia... Better get your foil helmets on. Someone might be 'watching' you guys.

  • thebrownie on May 8, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    Are you sure he was "deported"? You are deported when you don't have the right visa to enter the country, or rather no visa. There would be a deported stamp on the passport and you would normally not be allowed to enter the country again for a certain period of time. Australian citizens would be allowed to enter England under the visa waiver. So he could not have been deported. Of course it would have been illegal for him to play cricket after entering as a tourist. So he has to go back for the right paperwork.

  • SirViv1973 on May 8, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    For anyone who wants to blame this latest episode on the ECB I will reiterate that the ECB does not run passport control!

  • Kula_Bowls_Inswing on May 8, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    @jmcilhinney: What conspiracy theorists? Yorkshire are blaming a mistake on the visa form...

  • Tomek on May 8, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    While I understand there are laws etc surely common sense needs to prevail. Fly back to Australia then back to the UK? It's absurd. Fine the guy the equivalent cost of the flight, donate it to someone who needs it, then make him stay in some secure place for three days while it gets sorted. Although it does remind me of an AWESOME story about Australian actor David Gulpilil having to return to his home in the Northern Territory after leaving his passport at home, a flight from Sydney to Darwin, a light plane flight to a township, an epic drive through the bush followed by a 'shortcut' that meant swimming across a croc filled river and a walk of many hours, rather than another full day driving. Then do it all in reverse and back to Sydney with his Passport....gold.

  • jmcilhinney on May 8, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Starc's visa issue coincided with his having been in WI. I'll bet the conspiracy theorists will be out claiming that this is somehow down to the ECB but the simple fact is that there are laws and they aren't going to be waived just because you play international cricket.

  • Dashgar on May 8, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    CA, the new WICB.........

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  • Dashgar on May 8, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    CA, the new WICB.........

  • jmcilhinney on May 8, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    I'm sure it's just a coincidence that Starc's visa issue coincided with his having been in WI. I'll bet the conspiracy theorists will be out claiming that this is somehow down to the ECB but the simple fact is that there are laws and they aren't going to be waived just because you play international cricket.

  • Tomek on May 8, 2012, 16:25 GMT

    While I understand there are laws etc surely common sense needs to prevail. Fly back to Australia then back to the UK? It's absurd. Fine the guy the equivalent cost of the flight, donate it to someone who needs it, then make him stay in some secure place for three days while it gets sorted. Although it does remind me of an AWESOME story about Australian actor David Gulpilil having to return to his home in the Northern Territory after leaving his passport at home, a flight from Sydney to Darwin, a light plane flight to a township, an epic drive through the bush followed by a 'shortcut' that meant swimming across a croc filled river and a walk of many hours, rather than another full day driving. Then do it all in reverse and back to Sydney with his Passport....gold.

  • Kula_Bowls_Inswing on May 8, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    @jmcilhinney: What conspiracy theorists? Yorkshire are blaming a mistake on the visa form...

  • SirViv1973 on May 8, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    For anyone who wants to blame this latest episode on the ECB I will reiterate that the ECB does not run passport control!

  • thebrownie on May 8, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    Are you sure he was "deported"? You are deported when you don't have the right visa to enter the country, or rather no visa. There would be a deported stamp on the passport and you would normally not be allowed to enter the country again for a certain period of time. Australian citizens would be allowed to enter England under the visa waiver. So he could not have been deported. Of course it would have been illegal for him to play cricket after entering as a tourist. So he has to go back for the right paperwork.

  • Mitcher on May 8, 2012, 20:21 GMT

    Umm, has anyone blamed the ECB? Talk about defensive paranoia... Better get your foil helmets on. Someone might be 'watching' you guys.

  • hhillbumper on May 8, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Randy Oz will no doubt be on here soon claiming that Starc is an all time great and Aussie Border control are better than the UK. Bit supirsed by this though.I thought CA were the worlds greatest board?

  • on May 8, 2012, 21:54 GMT

    Where are the WICB bashers now?,deafening silence,this proves this can happen to anyone now ,is that not true?

  • on May 8, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    So . . . they don't have fax machines in Britain???? Or maybe the documents could be emailed ????

    What a very strange thing. Waste of money, time, petrol, the environment. My calendar says it's the 21st century.

    Could be worse I suppose. A 100 years ago he'd have to catch a boat back to Australia.