Visa Requirements for Rugby Union

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The UKBA has recognised the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as the governing body in England for setting the endorsement requirements and issuing endorsements.

In Ireland, Ulster Rugby is the UKBA recognised body, while in Wales the UKBA recognised body responsible for setting endorsement requirements and issuing endorsements in the Welsh Rugby Union.

The Scottish Rugby Union is the governing body for rugby in Scotland. Details of the governing body endorsement requirements for playing rugby is Scotland can be found here.

UK Rugby Visa Requirements for any non-UK Born Person

It is the responsibility of the UK club to ensure a player has the appropriate visa in order to be registered and, where applicable, contracted.

Player Registration

Player registration is paramount to the integrity of England RFU competitions and is administered in accordance with the Adult Player Registration Regulations. More information regarding player registration can be found here.

Employing a Sportsperson in Rugby Union

A club which is seeking to employ a player or coach must gain a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) to act as a Sponsor and another GBE to confirm that the player or coach meets the set requirements.

Governing Body Endorsements will be 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 (the club) - Tier 2 or Tier 5 - for 4 years
  • Migrant (the player) Tier 2 Sport - For an initial maximum period of 3 years, with a further extension of a maximum period of 3 years. If the contract is for fewer than 3 years, it will be issued for the length of the contract.
  • Migrant (the player) Tier 5 sporting - length of contract or up to 12 months, whichever is the shorter period.

The salary is usually agreed as part of the contract between the individual and the employer. This should be at least equal to those normally given to a 'resident worker' for this work. Where the salary quoted appears to be lower than expected we will discuss with the players' representatives.

Endorsement Requirements

To be a sponsor
The Rugby Football Union may act as a sponsor in its own right, or issue a Governing Body Endorsement for a club to become a Sponsor if the club is participating in one of the following leagues:

  • i. English Premiership
  • ii. English Championship

For a player
In order for a migrant endorsement to be awarded, the player must meet one of the requirements listed below:

  • i. A player must have played in at least one World Rugby ranking international test match (15-a-side), during the 24 months immediately prior to the date of application for one of the following World Rugby High Performance Tier 1 countries:

    Tier 1 countries: Argentina; Australia; England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, New Zealand; South Africa, Wales
  • ii. A player must have played in at least three World Rugby ranking international test matches (15-a-side), during the 24 months immediately prior to the date of application for one of the following World Rugby High Performance Tier 2 countries:

    Tier 2 countries: Canada; Fiji; Georgia, Japan; Namibia, Romania; Samoa; Tonga; United States of America, Uruguay

  • iii. A player must have played in at least one World Rugby ranking international match (15-a-side), during the 24 months immediately prior to the date of application from one of the World Rugby Tier 2 countries listed in ii. above and have played at least 50% of games, during the 24 months immediately prior to the application in one of the leagues listed in v. below.

  • iv. A player must have played in at least three World Rugby ranking international matches (15-a-side), during the 24 months immediately prior to the date of application from a World Rugby Tier 3 country and have played in a minimum of 10 full international matches (15-a-side), during their playing career.

  • v. A player must have played in at least 75% of matches, during the 24 months immediately prior to the date of application in the following leagues: PRO 14/PRO 12 and European Competitions, Super Rugby, Top 14 and European Competitions, English Premiership and European Competitions, English Championship, Welsh Premiership, Scottish Super 6.

    'European Competitions' shall mean the European Challenge Cup and the European Champions Cup (including the play-off matches for a position in the Champions Cup).

Injuries and Suspension
Matches/games for which the player was unavailable for selection are to be excluded when calculating the player’s appearance percentage. Exclusions from selection due to injury, suspension, international duty or serious illness, bereavement or family crisis will be taken into account when applying the requirements. Written evidence supporting this, setting out the games missed and the reason(s), must be provided by the player’s National Association or club doctor to Rugby Football Union. In order to obtain the governing body endorsement, the individual must not be subject to a provisional suspension or any unexpired period of ineligibility from playing and/or coaching activities in any jurisdiction as a result of being charged with or found guilty of a corruption offence and/or a doping offence. Each case will be judged on the individual circumstances and a decision made on this basis.

Extension or change of employment application
In order for a migrant endorsement to be awarded for an extension or change of employment application, the player must:

i. continue to meet the initial application requirements, or
ii. have played in at least 75% of matches for their sponsor for the period of their previous permission in one of the following leagues:

  • English Championship and Championship Cup
  • English Premiership and European Competitions
  • PRO 14 and European Competitions
  • Welsh Premier Division

The provision above regarding Injuries and Suspension will also apply to extension and change of employment applications

 

For a Director of Rugby/Head Coach
In order for a migrant endorsement to be awarded to a Director of Rugby/Head Coach, a migrant must meet one of the requirements listed below:

  • A migrant must have been contracted in a Director of Rugby or Head Coach role to a senior 15-a-side full international team that is currently ranked in the top 12 of the World Rugby rankings for a minimum of 12 months, during the 48 months immediately prior to the date of application.

  • OR

  • A migrant must have been contracted in a Director of Rugby or Head Coach role for a minimum of 12 months, during the 48 months immediately prior to the date of application for a team that is currently competing in one of the following leagues:
    • English Championship
    • English Premiership
    • PRO 14
    • Scottish Super 6
    • Super Rugby
    • Top 14
    • Welsh Premier Division

It should be noted that a club/union may have only one migrant endorsement for a Director of Rugby and one for a Head Coach. In addition, no endorsements are available for player/coaches. Applications will only be considered as a player or as a Director of Rugby or Head Coach.

For an Assistant Coach / Skills Coach
In order for a migrant endorsement to be awarded to an Assistant Coach / Skills Coach, a migrant must meet one of the requirements listed below:

  • A migrant must have been contracted in an Assistant Coach / Skills Coach role to a senior 15-a-side full international team that is currently ranked in the top 12 of the World Rugby rankings for a minimum of 12 months, during the 48 months immediately prior to the date of application.

  • OR

  • A migrant must have been contracted in an Assistant Coach / Skills Coach role for a minimum of 12 months, during the 48 months immediately prior to the date of application for a team that is currently competing in one of the following leagues:
    • English Championship
    • English Premiership
    • PRO 14
    • Scottish Super 6
    • Welsh Premier Division

It should be noted that no endorsements are available for player/coaches. Applications will only be considered as a player or as an Assistant Coach / Skills Coach.

For a Head of Performance
In order for a migrant endorsement to be awarded to a Head of Performance, a migrant must meet one of the requirements listed below:

  • A migrant must have been contracted in a Head of Performance role to a senior 15-a-side full international team that is currently ranked in the top 12 of the World Rugby rankings for a minimum of 24 months, during the 48 months immediately prior to the date of application.

  • OR

  • A migrant must have been contracted in a Head of Performance role for a minimum of 24 months, during the 48 months immediately prior to the date of application for a team that is currently competing in one of the following leagues:
    • English Championship
    • English Premiership
    • PRO 14
    • Scottish Super 6
    • Super Rugby
    • Top 14
    • Welsh Premier Division

In addition, the migrant must hold a degree in Sports and Exercise Science or Performance Analysis or a related discipline. It should be noted that a club/union may have only one migrant endorsement for a Head of Performance role.

The Rugby Players' Association (RPA)

Founded in 1988, the Rugby Players' Association is the representative body and collective voice of elite rugby players in England.

Visalogic is proud to have a strong relationship with the RPA and provide a service to its members.