International Sportsperson Visa UK

An International Sportsperson visa enables a non-UK or Irish national to work for a company or organisation in the UK as an elite sportsperson or qualified coach.

The International Sportsperson visa route is an amalgamation of two former visa routes – T2 International Sportsperson and T5 Temporary Worker Creative and Sporting (the Sporting route). It was introduced on 2021.

International Sportsperson Visa

At Gherson we work closely with businesses and organisations to understand their needs and future plans before advising on which visa route is best. If you would like to arrange an appointment with one of our expert advisers

When can you sponsor someone on an International Sportsperson visa?

To sponsor someone under the International Sportsperson route:

  • You must have a ‘genuine vacancy’ ie a job your organisation needs to fill;
  • The job must be at a minimum required skill level (equivalent to RQF 3, or A Level standard);
  • The salary must be at least £10.10 an hour (but potentially higher than this depending on the type of vacancy).

As the employer you must also have an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence, or be prepared to apply for one.

What are the key eligibility criteria for the applicant?

The applicant must:

  • Be endorsed by the Governing Body for their sport to confirm that they:
    • Are Internationally established at the highest level; and
    • Will make a significant contribution to the growth of the relevant sport at the highest level in the United Kingdom.

Applicants who wish to obtain a visa for more than 12 months must also be able to demonstrate a certain level of English language (currently A1 of the CEFR).

Previous criminal convictions or past immigration issues may prevent an individual from being granted an International Sportsperson visa.

How long can you sponsor an International Sportsperson for?

An International Sportsperson visa can be issued for a maximum of 5 years.

As an employer you can support an extension application as long as the applicant is still working for you in the same role, or the same type of role. There is no limit on how many times an individual can extend their stay in the UK under the Skilled Worker route.

After 5 years under the Skilled Worker visa route an individual may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) in the UK. Once they have ILR they no longer need to be sponsored in order to live and work in the UK.

Can someone on an International Sportsperson visa move to another employer?

An International Sportsperson visa is issued for employment with a particular company in a particular type of role.

A visa holder can potentially move to another employer, or to a different type of role with their existing employer, but only after applying for a new Skilled Worker visa.

How do you sponsor an International Sportsperson?

Firstly, it is critical to check and confirm that the job you are offering meets the criteria of the Skilled Worker visa route. If you do not already have an International Sportsperson Sponsor Licence then you will need to apply for one.

Once you are a Sponsor you will then need to obtain and assign an electronic ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ to the individual you wish to employ, which will confirm the job and salary you are offering. This is done online via your Sponsor Licence portal.

The individual you are sponsoring must then submit their visa application online, with supporting documents, and may need to attend an appointment to enrol biometrics (a photograph and fingerprints).

Gherson can provide expert guidance and support to you and your applicant at every stage of this process. For more information about us and our Corporate Immigration services please contact a member of the team.

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