DAVID OBUA wants to continue playing in Scotland or England after leaving Hearts to ensure he will no longer need a UK work permit in a year’s time. The Ugandan has been offered to several English Championship and SPL clubs and is willing to accept a drop in salary to remain in the UK.
After four years at Tynecastle earning in the region of £8000 per week, Obua is now a free agent following the expiry of his contract. If he stays in Britain for another 12 months he would be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK under Home Office rules and would no longer require a work permit.
Obua, 28, currently needs a work permit to play in the UK as an immigrant from outside the European Union. By next summer, he would no longer qualify for one because he retired from the Ugandan national team last autumn. Home Office rules state that, for a work permit to be granted, a player must have featured in a minimum 75 per cent of his country’s international matches over the preceeding two years.
Obua is eager to continue his career in Europe long-term and, provided he can secure a club in the UK next season, he would no longer need to fret about meeting work permit criteria thereafter.
“Our main target is to stay in the UK because David has been there for four years already,” explained Janos Hrutka, who represents Obua. “If he stays one more year, he gets to five years and that does a lot for his work permissions. We have tried to offer him to clubs in the Championship and in Scotland as well.”
Obua is willing to compromise on wages and would consider an offer worth less than the luctrative contract he had at Tynecastle. “I think the most important for him is to play all of the matches next season. That is why I think he can make some compromise,” continued Hrutka.
“I think David is not in the position to make his choice difficult because there is not so much interest in him at the moment. He did not play many games during the second half of last season. We have to be honest and that is why it is difficult to find him such a good club who want to have his quality.”