Australia hopes to attract more world-class professional footballers

The Australian government has amended some immigration rules in a bid to attract more top-level footballers to the country.

Professional footballers are now able to be sponsored to work in Australia for longer periods with its listing on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List for skilled overseas workers.

It is hoped that the change will help attract elite players with those sponsored able to access permanent residency if they meet the applicable visa criteria.

Australia has a range of football codes with soccer continuing to be Australia’s most played sport with over one million players.

A minimum annual salary of AUS$120,000 is being introduced as part of the changes to maintain integrity in the sponsoring of professional players.

“Australia has always been a competitive sporting nation, and these changes are a win for our local players, teams and fans,” Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said.

“Attracting top international talent to Australian football clubs brings those players’ skills and experiences from overseas and contributes to the knowledge and skills growth of Australian players. It means we can do even better on the international stage.

“Football is a global sport and the Morrison Government is proud to be supporting local teams and players to help maintain Australia’s proud reputation of success on the world stage,” he added.

Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie said these changes will go a long way in maintaining Australia’s proud reputation of sporting success.

“The Liberal and Nationals Government understand that being able watch top level players locally helps inspire and motivate more people to join a sport and get active,” Minister McKenzie said.

“By getting more Australians more active, more often, it provides social, health and community benefits right across the Australian community.”

Tennis coaches have also been added to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List, with strong participation numbers and demand for tennis coaches increasing, players need access to high quality coaches who bring with them their qualifications and expertise.

Article published 18th March 2019