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  Work permit arrangements for football players 2006/2007 season


Set out below is the work permit criteria for non-European Economic Area (EEA) football players for the 2006/2007 season that have been agreed by the football governing bodies.

Work permits will be issued to international players of the highest calibre who are able to make a significant contribution in footballing terms to the development of the UK game at the highest level (i.e. clubs competing in the Premier Leagues and Football Leagues in England and Scotland and The Irish Football League in Northern Ireland).


A player must have played for his country in at least 75% of its competitive 'A' team matches he was available for selection, during the two years preceding the date of the application; and,

The player's country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA world rankings when averaged over the two years preceding the date of the application.

Competitive matches

The definition of a competitive 'A' team international match is a:

  • World Cup Finals game
  • World Cup Qualifying group game

Football Association confederation tournament game, for example:

  • The FIFA Confederations Cup;
  • The UEFA European Championships and Qualifiers;
  • The African Cup of Nations and Qualifiers;
  • The Asia Nations Cup and Qualifiers;
  • The CONCACAF Gold Cup;
  • The CONCACAF The Copa Caribe;
  • The CONMEBOL Copa America;
  • The OFC Nations Cup and
  • The UNCAF Nations Cup

International appearances

Prior to submitting an application, clubs should provide written confirmation of the player's international appearance record over the preceding two years highlighting the competitive 'A' matches. This should be obtained from the player's home association. Work Permits (UK) will be unable to make a decision on the application until written evidence is provided. If any evidence submitted needs verifying, Work Permits (UK) will liaise with other parties and verify all information through all available sources, if necessary.


Exclusion from selection for international matches due to injury or suspension will be taken into consideration when applying the criteria. Clubs should submit supporting evidence in such cases stipulating the games the player has missed.

It should be noted that where a player is listed as on the substitutes bench, he will not be considered as injured when reaching a decision on a work permit application.

FIFA rankings

There are currently 204 international teams listed in the official FIFA world rankings. Those countries which have regularly achieved a 70th placing or higher over a period of two years are regarded as nations who have competed regularly at a highly competitive international level and have players of the highest standard who have contributed consistently to the achievement of that world ranking.

Work Permits (UK) will produce the aggregated two-year rankings list on a monthly basis when the official FIFA world rankings are published and those countries ranked 70th or above meet the criterion. The aggregated rankings are available below. If clubs have any queries about the rankings they should contact Work Permits (UK).

FIFA rankings (112 Kb)

Length of issue

First Applications: the work permit will issued for the period of the player's contract up to a maximum of five years.

Subsequent Applications: if a club wishes to retain the services of a player, they should submit a new application before the work permit expires. If the work permit criteria are satisfied a permit will be issued for the period of a player's contract up to a maximum of five years.

Change of Employer (transfer of player): a club wishing to sign a player from another UK club must submit an application to Work Permits (UK). If the work permit criteria are satisfied a permit will be issued for the period of a player's contract up to a maximum of five years.

Salary Information

Clubs no longer need to include details of a player's salary in the work permit application.

Trials arrangments

Work permits will not be issued to clubs for the purpose of having players to trial them. Clubs may wish to approach the Home Office Enquiry Bureau for further information should they wish to consider taking a non-EEA player on trial.

International transfer windows

Work permits may be applied for by clubs at any time and will be considered against the criteria as above. Clubs should take into consideration the fact that a work permit, once issued, must be used within 6 months otherwise becomes invalid.


Work Permits (UK) will not normally consult with the football governing bodies on individual applications.


Where an application has been refused on the grounds that it does not meet the published criteria, a club may seek a review against the decision. A club will have 28 days to inform Work Permits (UK) that it wishes to seek such a review. If a review is sought within this time limit, Work Permits (UK) will refer the club's evidence to an independent review panel.

The review panel will normally consist of representatives from the relevant football governing bodies together with up to three independent experts. The panel's terms of reference are to consider whether the player is of the highest calibre and able to contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in UK. The panel will make a recommendation to the Head of Work Permits (UK) whose decision will then be relayed to the club. Ministers will be informed of the result.

Clubs should note that, in respect of any application, there will only be available one review (i.e. a panel hearing and recommendation, followed by a decision). A club should therefore ensure that all evidence that it wishes to present in support of its application is presented at the review.

If the club has previously made an application that was unsuccessful at review a further review cannot be made for the same player during the season. For these purposes a season is deemed to run from 01 June until 31 May.

What if the person is in the UK when the application is made?

If the person is in the UK at the time of the application and wishes to transfer from one team to another, they will need to obtain new approval from Work Permits (UK) before they commence employment.

In-country change of employment applications require two separate decisions. The new club wishing to employ the player must first make a fresh work permit application for the individual, which will incur a charge. If this is successful, the second stage is for the player to vary their further leave to remain (FLR). We are currently operating an interim arrangement under which existing work permit holders can start a new job on the strength of their work permit permission letter alone, provided their existing leave covers all or part of the period of the new employment.

Players will still be required to submit a FLR application before their existing leave expires, or within 6 months of the approval letter, whichever is the sooner. Permission to work will cease should the FLR application be refused.

Information on in-country applications and the procedure for Further Leave to Remain is available on our website, or from the enquiry line on 0114 207 4074.

Further Information

If you require further information regarding work permits please contact Work Permits (UK):

The Sports and Entertainments Team
Work Permits (UK)
Managed Migration
Home Office
PO Box 3468
S3 8WA

Tel: 0114 274 3303
Fax: 0114 274 3003
Email: ents.workpermits@ind.homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Produced by Work Permits (UK)
8 June 2006


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