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A guide to the new immigration rules for players coming to the Premier League and EFL

International football players
Thursday, 03 December 2020 By Stephen O’Flaherty

With the opening of the transfer window on 2 January 2021, UK football clubs will be in uncharted territory. Not only will they face the prospect of signing European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals for the first time following the end of freedom of movement, but they will also have to navigate the UK’s new immigration system[1] (applicable to all immigrants) and The Football Association’s new Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) criteria[2] (relating specifically to work permits for overseas footballers wanting to play in England & Wales).[3]

To help clubs understand the system, this article provides an introduction to:

  • the UK’s new immigration system; and
  • the recently agreed criteria for obtaining a GBE for new signings.

A further article will examine precisely how the new system will operate with worked examples. We have also recorded a podcast to help provide further background and analysis:

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Written by

Stephen O’Flaherty

Stephen O’Flaherty

Managing Associate the Employment, Immigration and Reward department. He specialises in sports immigration with a particular focus on football and rugby. Stephen advises professional clubs, agents, international associations, individual players and their families on a variety of issues including transfers, visas, work permits, governing body endorsements and international exhibition games and tournaments.
Stephen also advises on disciplinary matters, regulations and compliance with sponsorship.

Comments (1)

  • Emmanuel Nare

    • 09 December 2020 at 00:45
    • #

    A great article, and also curious with regards to youth players that are already within the country however, lose their contracts, is there a set length of time to access another club set up before they may have to overcome the set merit requirements.


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