Legal Blog

New Pathway to Permanent Residency in Australia for Rugby (Union & League) and Soccer Players

Earlier this month the Australian government announced a change to the skilled occupations list (a list of nominated occupations that the Australian government wants to attract to Australia) to include ‘footballer’ on the the medium to long-term list rather than the short-term list, upon which it has existed since March 2018.

This means that previously, foreign players could only be granted a two-year visa, with one opportunity for renewal for a further two years. However, as of this week (11 March 2019), a foreign player can now apply for an initial four-year visa, with an opportunity to further apply for permanent residency after three years via the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the 186 visa.

A ‘footballer’ is defined under ANZSCO 452411 as someone who “plays football professionally in competitions”. This occupation requires high levels of physical fitness, sporting ability and personal commitment as well as, or in place of, formal qualifications or experience. Registration or licensing is required. This includes any of the following players:

  • Rugby Union Footballer
  • Rugby League Footballer
  • Soccer Player
  • Australian Rules Footballer

‘Footballer’ tasks include:

  • maintaining a high degree of expertise in a particular sport
  • attending regular practice sessions and undertaking private training to maintain the required standard of fitness
  • deciding on strategies in consultation with coaches
  • assessing other competitors and conditions at venues
  • competing in sporting events
  • adhering to the rules and regulations associated with a specific sport
  • undertaking sports promotional activities and television appearances

That is to say, anyone from overseas who presently participates in sporting events for monetary gain either as individuals or as members of a team are now eligible to migrate to Australia on either a temporary of permanent basis. Typically, at least two or three years experience in a professional environment is required. However, exceptions can be made.

If you wish to discuss your options to take your professional playing career to Australia on a temporary or permanent basis, contact one of ROCHE Legal’s sports agents or registered migration agents/lawyers today.

If you are a player in South Africa considering a move, book an appointment with our partner law firm in Pretoria, Van Der Merwe Attorneys Inc.

If you are not currently at professional level, we recommend subscribing to to create a player profile which may assist you in finding amatuer clubs across the globe, including Australia.


About the Author:

This post was authored by one of the Solicitors at ROCHE Legal. Should you have any questions, please contact our office.
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