Mohammad Amir had served three months in jail for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing case © AFP
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir has been granted a visa by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) on Thursday and will travel with the Pakistan side for the limited-overs tour of New Zealand, which starts from January 15. Amir, who has been picked in the ODI and T20 squads for the tour, will travel to New Zealand with the team on January 9.
The PCB had earlier sought legal advice on whether Amir could get a visa because the bowler had served three months in jail for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing case in England and New Zealand has rules against granting visas to individuals with criminal convictions.
“Immigration New Zealand can confirm that a visitor visa has been approved for Mohammad Amir to travel as part of the Pakistan Cricket Team set to tour New Zealand this month,” Michael Carley, INZ area manager, told stuff.co.nz. “In making this decision, INZ considered factors including the support of the New Zealand and Pakistan Cricket Board and that Mr Amir had served his sentence for his previous actions.”
New Zealand’s immigration authority, on its website, states that, “People with criminal convictions or who have provided false or misleading information will not be granted a visa unless a character waiver is granted.” It further specifies that, “In the case of character waivers, each application is considered on its individual merits and taking into account, for example, the seriousness of an offence, number of offences and how long ago the event/s occurred.”
Carley said Amir’s visa had been approved after taking into account the purpose of his visit to the country. “Taking into account all the circumstances and with full understanding of the purpose of his visit, a visa has been approved for Mr Amir,” he said.
Amir’s visa for England was rejected in 2014 and the PCB had feared that his case for New Zealand would be weak. It was also reported that the PCB were seeking legal advice from England and had roped in Amir’s lawyer in case there was a need to present evidence again.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum had earlier backed Amir’s inclusion in squad saying the pacer should be given a second chance and that he had no qualms playing against Amir, “He was a very young man at the time and he’s gone through a sound rehabilitation program,” McCullum had told AP. “If he gets out on the field against us, then you play against the man you’re playing against, not a man who may have made some mistakes as a youngster.”
NZC chief David White had also shown support for Amir’s inclusion. “He was a very, very young man, a boy really. He showed remorse at the time, admitted to it,” White said. “He’s gone through all the rehabilitation and education as prescribed by the ICC. I’m personally comfortable with him coming to New Zealand and playing.”
In November 2011, Amir – along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif – was sentenced in a London Court on charges conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat at gambling after a plot was uncovered in a News of the World sting operation to bowl deliberate no-balls in a Test against England in 2010.
Amir was given a six-month jail sentence and served half of it at the Portland Young Offenders Institution in Dorset. In January 2015, Amir was allowed to return to cricket ahead of schedule by the ICC. His five-year suspension period formally ended on September 1, 2015.
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo