Registering foreign players and coaches

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has introduced a points system so that those we need from abroad can work in Britain. The UKBA has recognised the RFU as the governing body in England for setting the endorsement requirements and issuing endorsements for clubs and sportspeople in rugby union in England.

There are now two categories in which sports people and coaches can enter the UK and work in a professional capacity for a club in the Premiership and Championship. The two categories are known as Skilled Tier 2 (sportspeople) and Temporary Tier 5 (sporting).

The sportspersons category of Skilled Tier 2 (sportspeople) of the Points Based System is for elite sports people and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level, whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level in the UK and who intend to base themselves in the UK.

The sportspersons category of Temporary Tier 5 (sporting) of the Points Based System is for internationally established sports people at the highest level in their sport and/or whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development and operation of that particular sport in the UK. It is also for coaches who must be suitably qualified to fulfil the role in question. This category is for temporary workers who come to the United Kingdom for up to 12 months.

Obtaining a sponsor licence

Under the government's new Points Based Managed Migration system, rugby clubs (in the Premiership and Championship) will now need to obtain a "Sponsor Licence" from the UK Border Agency in order to bring into the country migrant workers as either players or coaches from outside the EU.

As part of obtaining a licence, clubs wishing to become Sponsors will need to obtain approval from the Rugby Football Union (for the purposes of Tier 2 and Tier 5 of the Points Based System) in the form of a Governing Body Endorsement. Furthermore, once a club has a licence they will also need to obtain on each and every occasion from the RFU a separate Governing Body Endorsement when seeking to employ a migrant worker.

Clubs seeking to obtain from the RFU a Governing Body Endorsement for either their sponsor licence or to sponsor an individual player and/or coach must do so in writing to Warren Collier, RFU, Rugby House, Rugby Road, Twickenham, TW2 7BA. The letter must include the following information:

For a sponsor: Full club name, full address. [No administration fee]

For a migrant: Full name of migrant, date of birth, proposed salary, length of employment (including start and end dates), job title (e.g. Professional Rugby Player, Director of Rugby etc.), playing/coaching history and evidence that the migrant meets the requirements set out by the RFU (see the link below). [Administration fee of £100, cheque payable to Rugby Football Union].

Please see the new RFU GBE Criteria here, updated as of 17th August 2017.

The UK Border Agency website explains how your organisation should apply for a licence to be on the register of sponsors for the points-based system. You can go to the following website links to learn more and understand the process: