INZ yet to receive a visa application for Pakistan spot-fixer Mohammad Amir

Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Amir will not be granted a visa into New Zealand unless a character waiver is granted.
FAISAL MAHMOOD/ REUTERS

Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Amir will not be granted a visa into New Zealand unless a character waiver is granted.

Pakistan have yet to apply for a visa for controversial fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who needs a character waiver to join his team's cricket tour of New Zealand.

Amir served three months in jail for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing case, and Immigration New Zealand's (INZ) rule against granting visas to individuals with criminal convictions presents a hurdle to his re-introduction to international cricket.

The 23-year-old could be selected in the squad for the tour of New Zealand next month, where they will play three T-20s and three ODIs against the Black Caps, and the Pakistan Cricket Board have sought legal advice over his chances at being granted a visa, after he was declined one last year for England.

A statement from INZ outlined the criteria for visitors into New Zealand and specifically what Amir would have to do to compete on the tour. 

"In general terms all non- New Zealanders coming to New Zealand must be of good character," it said.  

"People with criminal convictions or who have provided false or misleading information will not be granted a visa unless a character waiver is granted. 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.

"As a matter of background as Pakistan is not on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) list of visa free countries, Mr Amir would be expected to apply for a visitor visa before he leaves his home country before planning to arrive in New Zealand." 

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A spokeman for New Zealand Cricket also confirmed that the Pakistan Cricket Board has not contacted the governing body to ask for assistance regarding a visa application. 

The PCB insisted on Wednesday that the left-arm paceman was fully rehabilitated and deserved another chance at international cricket. 

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His attendance at the national camp in Lahore was regarded as a first step towards starting his career again after he admitted to bowling no balls in exchange for cash payments. 

"From the first day, Amir has admitted his guilt and has sought forgiveness from his country, his fans and from Pakistanis," the PCB said in a statement.

It said Amir, who was 19-years-old when he was indicted, had cooperated with multiple investigations. 

"He came from a rural underprivileged background and both the ICC [International Cricket Council] and the British justice system were lenient towards Amir because of his remorse and cooperative conduct."

The PCB report said that Amir had completed a rehabilitation programme which included "lectures to junior teams warning them against corruption, sessions with psychologists and with senior players".

In 2010, when Amir was found guilty of spot-fixing, he was widely regarded as one of the best fast bowlers in the world. 

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan added that it didn't matter what Amir did he would "constantly be seen under a microscope".

"I promise that I will do my best to respect the prestige of the green cap and Pakistan shirt," Amir told AFP recently.

Amir was allowed to return to domestic cricket while he was completing his rehabilitation. 

 - Stuff.co.nz

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