Fourie facing deportation
January 7, 2013
Hendre Fourie was forced to call time on his career last week due to on-going problems with a shoulder injury © Getty Images
Former England international Hendre Fourie and his family are facing deportation to South Africa because his visa expired with his decision to retire last week.
The ex-Sale Sharks flanker, capped eight times during an injury-plagued career, was forced to announce his retirement following an unsuccessful recovery from a third operation on a chronic shoulder injury. The 33-year-old, who initially moved to England in 2005, had hoped to embark on a new career as a teacher but has now been told he must leave the country by the end of the month.
"I can play for England but I can't get a passport to stay in the country," Fourie told The Times. "If I had remained on a sports people visa for another two years, I would have got permanent residency, but unless someone is willing to give me another contract, that is not going to happen."
Fourie joined Rotherham Titans eight years ago on a working holiday visa and later switched to an international graduate visa when studying for a teaching degree. A move to play for Leeds Carnegie would lead to a tier-one highly skilled visa and England selection in 2010.
It looked as though Fourie may earn a place in England's 2011 Rugby World Cup squad only for his injury curse to strike again in the final warm-up game against Ireland - his last appearance for his adopted country. His transfer to Sale that same summer triggered another change to a tier-two sports people visa that expired when his contract with the Sharks was cancelled.
"My wife [Corlia] is South African, but my boy was born here and I would have like to have stayed and tried to get a teaching job. There were options to appeal but I would have had to wait another few years before I could get my permanent residency. It has been a red-tape nightmare and we just decided it was not worth all the hassle.
"That's the amazing thing, I am not able to claim any benefits in this country. I have always paid my taxes, have represented England, but I have to leave while you hear how they protect the rights of terrorists. I am not angry, we have a lot of family in South Africa, which will be good for Hendro [his Engilsh-born son], but it is just frustrating the way things have worked out."
A UK Border Agency spokesperson told the newspaper: "Anyone studying or working in the UK must abide by the terms of their visa. If an individual's circumstances change and they no longer meet the terms of their specific visa they can apply for a visa of a different type that better fits their needs."
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