Concerns Over Joint Visa Arrangements for Cricket World Cup

by Ray Clancy on February 2, 2015

A visa sharing system that allows fans to travel to this year’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand and Australia could be subject to abuse, it is claimed.

Officials are concerned that people with no intention of actually attending Cricket World Cup games are taking advantage of the arrangement allowing visa free entry to New Zealand for the event.

The visa arrangement, announced last September, was aimed at providing ease of movement for cricket fans following their teams in both countries. It means that those with an Australian visa can also obtain a three month visa for New Zealand on arrival.

AUSnewzealand

The visa is aimed at providing ease of movement for cricket fans following their teams in both countrie

‘New Zealand will grant a visa on arrival to people holding almost any type of Australian visa, which means not only international tourists will benefit, but people already in Australia on most permanent or temporary visa types as well,’ said Australian assistant immigration minister Michaelia Cash.

So, people from countries for which visas are usually required do not have to provide the same evidence to back their reasons for visiting, meet health requirements or prove that they have enough money to support themselves.

Officials will be on the lookout for people arriving on visas for the cup, which starts in two weeks, for signs that they know nothing about cricket. It runs from 14 February 14 to March 29, but the visa arrangement gives extra time for fans to visit before and after the event.

Under the arrangement holders of most eligible Australian temporary visas can travel to New Zealand without applying for a New Zealand visa over a period from 26 January to 05 April.

There are concerns that people from countries like China could use the joint visa arrangement to get round the rigorous normal visa demands. They could be planning to arrive on the tourist visa for the tournament, even attend a match and then stay on.

Most concerns are being voiced in New Zealand because holders of New Zealand visas must still apply for an Australian visa to enter Australia. It is thought that around 100 people have already tried to get into New Zealand from Australia under the arrangement.

An Immigration New Zealand spokesman confirmed that several Chinese nationals have been denied boarding in Australia. ‘The passengers said that they would be attending the games and provided Cricket World Cup tickets as evidence. However, the tickets were for games scheduled to take place after the dates of planned departure, which called into question their intentions,’ the spokesman added.

John Harnden, chief executive of the ICC World Cup 2015 local organising committee, pointed out that international visitors will still be required to meet the respective health, security and character requirements of both countries and each country will retain the right to refuse entry if a visitor does not meet these requirements.

‘We have made sure the event is affordable and with this new visa process it will now be even easier for fans from around the world to follow their teams and experience the many tourist offerings in both countries,’ he added.

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