This page explains the work permit criteria for rugby league for the 2008/2009 season. These criteria were agreed following consultation with the governing bodies. This criteria is supplementary guidance to the published employer guidance notes and both sets of guidance should be referred to when making an application.
Length of season
The season for this sport are:
- Super league: February to October.
- All other leagues: September to April.
Work permits will only be issued for players to play for clubs in the super league or national Leagues 1, 2 and 3.
Players coming from the senior nations, which are Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea must have played in either:
- 50% of full internationals since 1 July 2007; or
- 75% of games over the two complete seasons prior to the date of the work permit application in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) 1st Grade, the super league or a combination of the two.
Players coming from outside the senior nations must have played in:
- 75% of games over the last two complete seasons in the NRL 1st Grade, the super league or a combination of the two.
Extension and change of employer applications
Extension applications will only be considered for players who currently hold a United Kingdom work permit or have previously held a United Kingdom work permit, during the last playing season. A new club must submit a work permit application for the player.
The player must have played in at least 75% of competitive games for his club for the period of the previous permission. Games that were played when the player was on international duty and when they were unavailable for selection through injury (supported by medical evidence) will be excluded from the assessment.
If the employee is out of contract by more than 28 days then the new club must make a new application. The application will be considered as a new application under the initial application criteria.
Exclusions from selection due to injury will be a factor that is taken into account when applying the criteria. Clubs should submit supporting medical evidence in such cases, stipulating the period of injury and the total number of games the player has missed. This evidence should be from the team doctor, or other official medical practitioner, on headed paper.
If the player has missed less than 50% of games through injury over the last two complete seasons in the NRL 1st grade, they will be considered for a work permit using the medical evidence provided.
If the player has missed 50% or over of games through injury over the last two complete seasons in the NRL 1st grade, the sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency, will consult with the Rugby Football League (RFL) and Rugby Football Players Association (RFPA) to consider previous playing history and to ascertain if the player would make a significant contribution to the game should a work permit be approved.
Rugby union players
In order to be considered for a work permit to play rugby league in the United Kingdom, players with rugby union experience must have played 75% of internationals since 1 July 2005, and, played in 50% of games for a province in the rugby union Super 14s over the last two seasons.
Work permits will only be considered for clubs in the super league or national leagues 1, 2 and 3.
Head coaches must have worked for at least two seasons (one of the last two seasons and one other complete season) at one of the following levels:
- Head National Team Coach (all senior national teams)
- Head Australian Origin Coach (from the provinces of New South Wales and Queensland only)
- Head Australian National League (NRL first grade only)
Note: Work permits will only be issued for non-European Economic Area (EEA) coaches to take the Head coach role. As a club can only have one head coach any applications for other head coaches will not be approved. Work permits will not be issued for assistant coaches.
Evidence to show the level of coaching attained should also be provided by the club. For example Australian Rugby Football League (ARFL) registration.
Advertising (for coaching posts only)
There is no requirement for a resident labour market test for players.
Coaching posts must be advertised in appropriate media that provides the best way of reaching suitably qualified resident workers allowing four weeks from the date the advertisement appears to receive applications. The advertisement should be placed within the six months before the application for a work permit.
Evidence to show that a resident labour search has been undertaken should be provided. This should include a copy of the advertisement and details of responses. If a club has used alternative recruitment methods they should provide details of why the method was chosen, what they did and the result. The sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency will consult with the RFL and Rugby League Coaches Association (RLCA) on advertising undertaken.
Length of issue for players and coaches
Work permits are normally issued for the length of contract, up to a maximum of five years.
The salary is usually agreed as part of the contract between the individual player and employer. This and the other conditions of employment should be at least equal to those normally given to a 'resident worker' for this work. Where the salary quoted appears to be lower than expected we will seek information and advice from the sports' governing bodies and players' representatives.
Other non-playing roles
The sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency will decide the most appropriate route for assessing other types of applications. Full and complete job descriptions should always be sent for job titles other than those covered above. The sports and entertainments team, UK Border Agency will consult with the RFL, RLPA and the RLCA for any applications that do not strictly fall into either the playing or the coaching criteria. We would need to see evidence that the person in question has been employed overseas under the same job title for at least three years.