This page explains the Tier 2 (sporting) and Tier 5 (sporting and creative) sponsor licence and migrant endorsement requirements for Polo.

Tier 2 (sportspersons) of the Points Based System is for elite sports people and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level, whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK and who, intend to base themselves in the UK.

Tier 5 (sporting and creative) is for sportspeople and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level and/or whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development and organisation of their sport in the UK and will come to the UK for no more than 12 months at a time.

The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) has recognised the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) as the governing body in the UK for setting the endorsement requirements and issuing endorsements.

Visa Update - March 2017

Following ongoing discussions, the Home Office has finally agreed to the request of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) that those playing below 15 goal (medium goal) be given more time to adjust to the recently imposed restrictions on non-EEA grooms operating at that level. The revised criteria relating to non-EEA grooms operating in polo below 15 goal are set out below.

The Home Office will not apply a cap on the number of grooms that may be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship for the 2017 season, nor will they be prevented from working in polo below 15 goal.

Home Office Ministers have made clear that these are transitional measures and the criteria will apply for the 2017 polo season only.

The intention of the Home Office remains that only those who work at the highest level and/or will develop the sport at the highest level in the UK are eligible for admission under Tiers 2 and 5 and that polo moves to a position where non-EEA grooms are admissible under Tiers 2 and 5 only where they are accompanying overseas players coming to join a UK team, or coming as part of an overseas-based high or medium goal team.

Criteria for 2017

The following criteria shall apply in respect of grooms employed for polo below 15 goal during the 2017 season:

  • Sponsorship shall only be endorsed for a sponsor who obtained at least one endorsement in the 2016 season for a groom, and no sponsor shall have more sponsorships issued in 2017 than were issued in the 2016 season;
  • No sponsor may have more than two groom endorsements;
  • No sponsorship shall be endorsed by the HPA to any person who remains under review by the Home Office at the time of application following investigation in the 2016 season

The groom must have:

  • 1. At least two years’ experience as a professional polo groom; and be able to provide:
    • reference(s) from their previous employer who is a member of the HPA; or
    • reference(s) from their previous employer who is a member of a recognised overseas governing body; or
    • a reference from an overseas employer endorsed by an HPA member or a member of a recognised overseas governing body
  •  
  • 2. A contract of employment with:
    • a patron recognised by the HPA as having been a patron playing polo below 15 goal in the 2016 season; or
    • a player who has a contract of employment with a patron of a team playing below 15 goal;
  • 3. A signed undertaking by the employer to comply with all the relevant requirements.


Tier 2 and Tier 5 visas for Polo - duration

HPA endorsements are issued for a period appropriate to the period of approval for sponsorship or the tier under which the application is being made, that is:

  • As a Sponsor - Tier 2 or Tier 5 - for 4 years
  • Migrant Tier 2 Sport - Initial application - length of contract or up to 3 years maximum, whichever is the shorter period.
    Extension application - length of contract or up to 2 years maximum, whichever is the shorter period.
  • Migrant Tier 5 sporting - length of contract or up to 12 months, whichever is the shorter period.


Tier 2 - Sporting visa requirements for Polo

To be a sponsor:

  • 1. HPA membership; or
  • 2. Confirmation to the HPA that they or their team will be playing high goal and/or medium goal (12 - 15 goals).

To be a player, groom, manager, coach, or umpire:

  • Player
    • a) has a polo handicap of 5 goals or above issued by the HPA; and
    • b) has previously been employed in the UK as a professional polo player and can provide reference(s) from their previous UK employer(s) for their playing and general conduct; and
    • c) holds a valid coaching qualification or has enrolled in the HPA coaching programme; and
    • d) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal polo team.
       
  • Lady Player
    • a) has a ladies polo handicap of 5 goals or above issued by the HPA; and
    • b) has previously been employed in the UK as a professional lady polo player and can provide reference(s) from their previous UK employer(s) for their playing and general conduct; and
    • c) holds a valid coaching qualification or has enrolled in the HPA coaching programme; and
    • d) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal ladies polo team.
       
  • Manager, Polo Pony Trainer
    • a) has been previously employed in the UK in this position; and
    • b) can provide reference(s) from their previous UK employer(s) confirming their expertise, general conduct and ability to impart their skills to others; and
    • c) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal polo team; or
    • d) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal ladies polo team.
       
  • Coach
    • a) holds an HPA coaching qualification and has been previously employed in the UK in this position; and
    • b) can provide reference(s) from their previous UK employer(s) confirming their expertise, general conduct and ability to impart their skills to others; and
    • c) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal polo team; or
    • d) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal ladies polo team.
       
  • Umpire
    • a) holds an HPA umpire grade and has been previously employed in the UK in this position; and
    • b) can provide reference(s) from a recognised overseas governing body that they are capable of umpiring 15 goal polo and above; and
    • c) has a contract of employment with the HPA or an affiliated Club.
       


Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) - Sporting and Creative Visa Requirements for Polo

To be a sponsor:

  • 1. HPA membership; or
  • 2. Confirmation to the HPA that they or their team will be playing high goal and/or medium goal (12 - 15 goals).

To be a player, groom, manager, coach, or umpire:

  • Player
    • a) has a polo handicap of 4 goals or above (or equivalent handicap for ladies with an international ranking) issued by the HPA or by a recognised overseas polo governing body; and
    • b) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal polo team.
       
  • Lady Player
    • a) has a ladies polo handicap of 4 goals or above issued by the HPA or by a recognised overseas polo governing body; and
    • b) has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal ladies polo team.
       
  • Groom
    • has at least two years' experience as a professional polo groom and can provide:
      • a) reference(s) from their previous employer who is a member of the HPA; or
      • b) reference(s) from their previous employer who is a member of an recognised overseas governing body; or
      • c) a reference from an overseas employer endorsed by an HPA member or a member of a recognised overseas governing body;
      • and

      • d) a contract of employment with:
        • (i) a patron of a high or medium goal polo team; or
        • (ii) a player who has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal polo team; or
        • (iii) a patron of a high or medium goal ladies polo team; or
        • (iv) a lady player who has a contract of employment with a high or medium goal ladies polo team.

        Endorsements for grooms may not exceed 500 Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting) for the 2017 season.

  • Manager, Polo Pony Trainer, Coach - has at least two years' experience in this position and can provide:
    • reference(s) from their previous employer who is a member of the HPA; or
    • reference(s) from their previous employer who is a member of an recognised overseas governing body; or
    • a reference from an overseas employer endorsed by an HPA member or a member of a recognised overseas governing body;
    • and

    • d) a contract of employment with:
      • (i) a patron of a high or medium goal polo team; or
      • (ii) a player who has a contract of employment with a patron of a high or medium goal polo team; or
      • (iii) a patron of a high or medium goal ladies polo team; or
      • (iv) a lady player who has a contract of employment with a high or medium goal ladies polo team.
  • Umpire - has at least two years' experience umpiring and can provide:
    • a) reference(s) from a recognised overseas governing body that they are capable of umpiring 15 goal polo and above; and
    • b) has a contract of employment with the HPA or an affiliated Club.