The Guardian reported yesterday (22 Nov 2016) that Paris Saint-Germain defender, Serge Aurier, has been refused permission by the Home Office to travel to England for today’s Champions League match against Arsenal.
Serge Aurier, a national of the Ivory Coast, was initially granted a UK visa but this was revoked following his assault conviction in September. Two months ago, the PSG defender had been sentenced to two months’ imprisonment following an altercation outside a Paris nightclub.
A spokesperson from the Home Office has indicated that the application was refused under “general grounds for refusal.”
Under the immigration rules, an entry clearance officer must consider refusing entry to a person on general grounds if there is any evidence in their background, behaviour, character, conduct or associations that show they should not enter or remain in the UK for one or more of the grounds set out in paragraphs 320 and 322 of the Immigration Rules.
This means that even if you could satisfy the entry clearance officer that you meet the eligibility criteria for the visa you have applied for, your application could still be refused under “general grounds for refusal”.
In this case, it appears that Serge Aurier has been denied a visa due to his criminal history (which is a ground for refusal). Guidance for case workers and entry clearance officer’s states:
“You must refuse entry clearance and leave to enter for an applicant who was convicted of an offence and sentenced to less than 12 months imprisonment. You can make a mandatory refusal under paragraph 320(2)(d)…this is unless a period of five years has passed since the end of the sentence.”
PSG have spoken out against the Home Office ‘s decision and have argued that as Aurier had appealed against his conviction, he was entitled to the presumption of innocence.
Our immigration experts know from experience that the Home Office are unlikely to exercise discretion in cases where an applicant has adverse criminal history. If you have been affected in a similar way, please contact our immigration team today to consider your options.