Work Permits: Professional Sportsmen

House of Lords written question – answered on 12th February 2004.

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Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What were the outcome and length of the consultation process which took place with professional sports organisations prior to the decision to permit people on working holiday visas to be employed in professional sport; which organisations responded to the proposals for professional sport; and how many responses were in favour of the proposals.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

A public consultation document on the Working Holidaymaker Scheme (WHS) was published in May 2002 with the consultation period ending on 23 August 2002. Eighty responses to the consultation document were received. Two professional sports players' associations responded, the Ice Hockey Players' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association. They made representations in October 2002, after the consultation period had ended, but their responses were none the less considered fully during the review process. Both responses opposed the proposed changes concerning the removal of work restrictions. The only other sporting body to respond was the Sports Council of Northern Ireland, which supported the removal of work restrictions.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) received representations directly from a number of sporting bodies, including the Ice Hockey Players' Association, against the proposed changes. However, the arguments raised were considered not to outweigh the potential advantages to the WHS of the removal of employment restrictions. The Government are reviewing the impact of the changes to the scheme. Within this review the DCMS, as part of the review process, is currently investigating the impact of the WHS with a number of sporting bodies.

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