AN online petition requesting the UK Border Agency to reconsider granting Jamaican football team captain and former Leeds United player, Rudolph Austin, a work permit is meaningless, according to attorney-at-law and Kingston and St Andrew Football Association president, Stewart Stephenson.
The petition was launched yesterday after Austin, who was released by his Leeds this summer after three seasons, was prevented from taking up a lucrative three-year contract with Sheffield Wednesday.
The contract would have made Austin, who led Jamaica to the runner-up spot in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup, one of their highest paid players.
The new English Football Association rules stipulate that non-European Union players must have represented countries in FIFA’s top 50 rankings over the last two years. Jamaica is ranked at 76.
The online petition was launched by www.jablogz.com, seeking 5000 signatures to present to UK Border Agency to get them to review Austin’s case.
At the time of writing, 13 hours after the petition was opened, there were 544 signatures.
However, Stephenson told STAR Sports that a petition is meaningless and that the player must get an experienced immigration attorney to pursue his rights under British law.
“Each country has its own immigration laws; each government (decides) has who it grants a visa, so if you don’t meet the criteria there is nothing you can do,” he said.
“What you have to do is pursue claims legally under the immigration laws in Britain and you do that through an attorney to the government. You can do it no other way.”
He added that Austin’s son and mother being in the UK also made no difference.
“That has nothing to do with it. He personally has to meet qualification criteria, otherwise, he will be not allowed.
“This is a legal issue and his lawyers would be best to advise him. It’s best he gets an astute and experienced immigration lawyer to represent him, and I’m sure that what can be done within the law will be,” he commented.