Monday, March 03, 2008

GM Antic Facing Final Hurdle

Last year, we learned of news that Serbian grandmaster Dejan Antic was denied permanent residency by the Australian government. Now the affable GM will face his one last hurdle. GM Antic, married and a father of two sons, now hopes to persuade the minister for immigration and citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, to change the government's position.

We have received a copy of a letter sent to the minister and Dejan is happy for us to publish it. The document basically outlines the situation so far as well and to request the minister to overturn the Migration Review Tribunal's decision last year. It's quite long so I'll only quote some key parts.

I write you this letter from the bottom of my heart and without any legal advice hoping that it will come to your attention in amongst the sea of other applications.

Throughout my career as a chess Grandmaster, I've played tournaments in many countries around the world. However, from the moment I came to Australia, I felt something that I never have before - a chance to start a new life with my family and the opportunity to make a professional contribution for the benefit of the Australian nation and it's citizens.

Unfortunately, the Australian Embassy in Belgrade, the Department of Immigration, and finally the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) ignored and rejected - in the very brutal manner - my permanent residency application reasoning that, although I would be the fourth Australian chess Grandmaster, I am not qualified to perform chess coaching in Australia, regardless of having the full support of the entire Australian Chess Community, the Australian Chess Federation, and a number of the best schools and Universities where I have and continue to work as a chess coach.

...

Dear Minister, by rejecting my permanent visa application, MRT ridiculed the opinion of the Australian chess community as a whole, and support expressed by hundreds - if not even thousands - of people.

...

I would like to take this opportunity to ask you as a parent, human being and Minister of Australia, demanding and insisting to act promptly in processing my visa application, as further delay would make all this irrelevant. I honestly believe in the basic principles of Australian democracy and human rights and I'll wait for your answer, trusting you will take into account my growing family situation.

If you believe I belong with people who can contribute to Australian society, I will endeavour to do my best to make my contribution worthwhile, if not I'll go back to my country of origin.

Whatever the pluses and minuses of this case insofar as immigration law is concerned, I'm sure most readers will join me in wishing GM Antic the best of luck. If only it was all just about the chess: that we'll get a new GM, receive chess wisdom, stronger competition and so on. But, of course, it's more complicated than that. Still we hope (and if you're the type, pray) that the outcome of this final try is a positive one.

Good luck Dejan.

1 comment:

mahavj said...

Dear Friends,

I am Italian and live in Italy, therefore I have no endorsement whatsoever about the matter.

Nevertheless I want to express my surprise reading this kind of things happens also in a so far away country as Australia.

We too, here in Italy, experienced such problems with immigrant chess players, however usually everything ends well (see for example the long odissey suffered by FM Gromovs, coming from an ex USSR country).

I wish my best also to GM Antic.

Gens una sumus nowadays is a meaningless sentence....