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Work Permit Rules in English Football

The United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies

    Workers from the United Kingdom or any of the British overseas territories or British crown dependencies do not require any work permit or other documentation to work in England under British law. This includes the countries of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Isle of Man or the Isle of Jersey. As with all other workers, this applies to association football players.

European Economic Area

    Players who are citizens in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden can play in England without a work permit due to the United Kingdom's membership in the European Economic Area, a single market agreement treaty tied to the European Union's economic policies.

    Players from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia need to register for residence permits if they play for more than 12 months in a row for an English club, and players from Malta and Cyprus need to register for a residence permit immediately, but like the other European Economic Area countries, a work permit is not needed from these countries.

Tier 2 Immigration Schemes

    Anyone outside of the aforementioned countries can play in the Premier League or the Football League if they obtain a Governing Body Endorsement under Tier 2 of the United Kingdom's five tier immigration scheme.

    In order to get this endorsement, they need to have played in at least 75 percent of their country's "A" or primary national team matches, which includes any World Cup or World Cup qualifying game, or any Continental tournament game. They also need to play for a country that has averaged at least 70th place or higher in the FIFA rankings over the past two years.

    Governing Body Endorsements can last for three years or the length of the contract, whichever is shorter. Extensions can be granted for two years or the length of a contact extension, whichever is shorter.

Tier 5 Immigration Schemes

    Youth players from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or Morocco can also play for a contract of 12 months or the length of their contract, whichever is shorter, under a Tier 5 work permit from the United Kingdom's five tier immigration scheme.

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About the Author

Since 2000, Andrew Sylvia has written for more than a dozen newspapers throughout New Hampshire. He received a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2004.

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