16 January 2015

Will Guy Luzon actually get a work permit?

My friendly local barrister tells me that immigration lawyers in the UK are mainly lazy, opportunistic charlatans. Surprisingly, then, I am not one, and so you should probably not pay attention to the rest of this blog, in which I will try to understand what's gone on behind the farcical situation that's been revealed today and what the outcome may be.
Charlton are disappointed to announce that Guy Luzon will not be able to take charge of the team at Watford on Saturday due to issues with his UK work permit.
Following his appointment on Tuesday evening, the club had expected the required paperwork to be finalised in time for the Head Coach to take his place in the dugout at Vicarage Road.
However, his work permit was not processed before the required deadline. 
Because Luzon is an Israeli citizen, not an EU national, he has to get a work visa (also known as a work permit) before he can take employment. The fact that he hasn't got one seems to mean that Charlton have broken the law in employing him.

When I first read the news, and after I'd stopped laughing somewhat hysterically, my initial thought was that the famously inefficient Home Office had messed up, or that Charlton had not realised that a work visa was needed (perhaps forgetting that Luzon isn't an EU national), or that they had not submitted the application in time.

But, from what I've read it might be more fundamental than that.

Here are the qualifications you need to get a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa, which I think is what Luzon would need.
  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognised by your sport’s governing body as internationally established at the highest level
  • your sport’s governing body is endorsing your application
  • your employment will develop your sport in the UK at the highest level
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland 
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements
  • You need to meet all of them. I think it would be hard to argue that Luzon's record as a coach makes him "internationally established at the highest level" or that his employment would "develop [football] in the UK at the highest level".

    We've seen cases before where foreign players haven't been able to get a work visa, basically because they aren't considered exceptional enough. On his record, Luzon is only exceptional in Roland Duchatelet's head. From my reading of the guidance, there's a very real chance Luzon will not be given a work visa.

    If anyone reading this is a genuine expert in immigration law, I'd be very grateful for your comments.


    Anonymous said...

    Does Luzon even have a Pro licence to enable him to coach in the UK? Just a thought given the farce that this has become!

    Brian said...

    No idea. I know even less about that than I do about immigration law. As always, any comments welcome!

    Dave said...

    I work with a lot of non EU citizens brought to work in the UK. The key test they have to pass is that they are qualified to perform work we have skill shortages in carrying out. That's where Guy Luzon may fall down, although he presumably has a precedent set because he has been given a work permit to work in another EU country previously.

    Anonymous said...

    The only skill Roland requires is subservience, and my guess would be Luzon excels in that.

    More specifically, as a former U21 coach he probably can scrape through the 'international' requirement, but quite what he would add to the UK game maybe more challenging, unless you count services to comedy.

    Anonymous said...

    Look in to KM's statement, we had 20 candidates..... not all will be suitable but a large number will be.
    Therefore, the skill shortage , relevant to THIS job is unproven.
    So a WP refusal is a strong possibility