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Fri 19th May 2017

Latest from the HPA regarding Visas

In an open later sent to all members of the Hurlingham Polo Association, HPA Chief Executive David Woodd, has made a comment on the 2018 position regarding visas. His letter is as follows:

To all HPA Members:

The position for 2018 is as yet undetermined. The Home Office has made it’s position clear which is that:

“The revised criteria relating to non-EEA grooms operating in low goal polo will apply for the 2017 polo season only.  Home Office ministers are clear that these are transitional measures only, and wish to ensure that the HPA’s criteria are quickly brought in line with those in operation in other sports, where only those who work at the highest level and/or will develop the sport at the highest level in the UK are eligible for admission under Tiers 2 and 5.  We have made clear in previous discussions with the HPA that this will involve moving to a position in which non-EEA grooms are admissible under Tiers 2 and 5 only where they are accompanying overseas players coming to join a UK team, or coming as part of an overseas-based team, participating at high or medium goal level.  
We will wish to discuss how we can move to that position in 2018, and we look forward to meeting the HPA for further discussions on this in the summer.”
The bold text is my emphasis and the position of the HPA is that the Home Office proposals still ignore the shortage of skilled grooms for all levels of polo and therefore it is very important that sponsors who have employed migrant workers should make sure that they are compliant and that there are no issues of non-compliance this year as that will give the Home Office justification for restrictions that are damaging to the sport at all levels.
As you may be aware, the HPA applied for legal costs for the work that was done for the Judicial Review and our lawyers were optimistic that we would be awarded a significant proportion.  The Judge has ruled against that, unfortunately, and we are advised that it is not worth appealing. 

Each sponsor was required to sign that they would accept the charge for each migrant endorsed and agreed that the charge would be determined once the full process had been concluded and the legal costs identified.
The Stewards feel that the bulk of the legal costs, which have so far amounted to £52,420.56, should fall to those who have brought in migrant workers. Although there is still work to be done and this is likely to incur costs, it has been agreed that there should now be a levy listed below in order to cover the above.

Player – £250, Polo Manager – £200, Polo Pony Trainer - £200, Groom - £150 

Yours sincerely,

David Woodd
Chief Executive
Photograph: The HPA has gone some way to clarifying next year’s position. By Tony Ramirez -  ©www.imagesofpolo.com

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