Immigration: Sports Competitors

Home Office written question – answered on 26th October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to set out changes to the UK points-based immigration system as it applies to sportspeople.

Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to retain the Sportsperson visa (Tier 2) standard under the new Immigration Rules to be adopted from 1 January 2021.

Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include (1) clergy, (2) sports players, and (3) sports coaches, instructors and officials, as classified under the Standard Occupational Codes system, in their new proposed definition of a skilled worker.

Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the endorsement requirements published on the websites of sports’ governing bodies for visas under the points-based immigration system ensure that playing opportunities for (1) resident sportspeople, and (2) youth development, are protected as required under Immigration Rules.

Photo of Lord Moynihan Lord Moynihan Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the endorsement process for visa applicants for sports players, sports coaches, instructors and officials is operated exclusively by sports’ governing bodies and not sports clubs.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

The provisions within the Immigration Rules for both Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) will continue in the future immigration system. These routes will be amended to accommodate applications from elite sportspersons and coaches from the European Economic Area and Switzerland, along with those from the rest of the world, from 1 January 2021.

The UK Government does not have any plans to include clergy, sportspersons, coaches, instructors or officials under the new Skilled Worker route. The current provisions of Tier 2 (Ministers of Religion) and Tier 5 (Religious Workers) for clergy, and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) and Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) for sportspeople, are dedicated routes for such activities.

The UK’s immigration arrangements for professional sportspersons seek to strike a balance between ensuring that UK sports can access top-end talent that will enhance sport in the UK, whilst at the same time protecting opportunities for resident players and supporting grassroots sport. The Government works with Sports Governing Bodies to set bespoke criteria, with every sport’s criteria reviewed annually, ensuring that it continues to meet the changing needs of the individual sport. The success of UK sports clearly demonstrates that this system is one which works well.

The system of endorsement is operated by the Sports Governing Bodies to ensure that an objective assessment is made of each individual sportsperson. Individual clubs are asked to fulfil their sponsorship duties, in a dual-level of assurance.

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