Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Manu Tuilagi is 19, he came over here with his family six years ago. He plays for Leicester Tigers and is a capped, under-18's England International.
In its wisdom the Home Office has refused a working visa and he is now under threat of deportation to Samoa, somewhere that he considers the ancestral home, England is his home.
Although his five brothers have, and for two still do, ply their rugby in this country that is because they played international rugby for Samoa. Manu wants to play international rugby too - but for England.
I really don't know what the Home Office is doing. This isn't the first time that they have wanted to deport someone who grew up here and wants to contribute to Britain, yet there are immigrants who get in here via family and promptly jump onto benefits.
Despite the support his club, the Premiership, and the RFU, the Home Office refused and because of this, he doesn't even have the right to appeal.
Quoted in The Rugby Paper, UK Border Agency deputy director Simon Excell, pompously commented: "[Manu] has never applied for permission to work. Clubs that wish to employ skilled sportsmen or women from overseas must check that they have the right to live and work in the UK."
Now, Ok Manu came in on a visitor's visa when he was a kid and it should have been sorted out but isn't he precisely the type of person we should be welcoming to our shores?
Head of the Tigers rugby operations Simon Cohen commented: "...they will presumably serve a deportation order on him...if they are going to come to the training ground and take him I would suggest they bring a lot of people!"