Polo Facing ‘Serious’ Situation In Planned Work Visa Changes
Proposed changes to rules allowing UK Polo players to bring in highly-skilled grooms from overseas, could have a detrimental impact on the sport and affect hundreds of overseas polo workers, the Telegraph reports.
David Woodd, CEO of the HPA, told The Daily Telegraph that the situation is the “most serious we have ever faced” after the Home Office’s recent proposed changes to its Tier 5 and Tier 2 visa rules.
Changes could mean that only players from outside the EU and “rated at five goals will be able to bring in stabling staff for their strings of ponies”. This does not apply to English players which could affect the England polo squad, according to the article.
The Home Office current Tier 5 and Tier 2 rules allow “players and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level and whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of the sport at the highest level in the UK” which are endorsed “subject to the post not being able to be filled by a suitable settled worker (EEA national).”
The Tier 5 temporary work visa allows people to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to do training and, among other requirements, have a sponsor. You can apply for a Tier 2 visa if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK and are from outside the European Economic area.
Mr Woodd told The Telegraph there wasn’t a huge demand from British residents wanting to be grooms.
“The grooms are filling the void. They pay tax, and there is vast experience in the ranks of Argentine, New Zealand and Australian grooms. A lack of grooms from overseas would really damage the sport.
The Hurlingham Polo Association is planning on meeting with the Home Office to discuss the issue.