Many Australian sporting organisations regularly import players and coaches from overseas to give their team a competitive edge. This happens in a variety of sports, right from the NRL, A-League and W-League, down through to local leagues such as the John I Dent Cup (local rugby). And it is this time of the year, that these local clubs would “normally” be planning for the arrival of these overseas players.

Usually, “foreign imports” are sponsored on short term visas such as the subclass 400 [Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa] or the subclass 408 [Temporary Activity] visa. These visas are specifically designed to facilitate the performance of discrete, short term jobs or activities. These visas are for use by participants in sporting events, but are also designed for prominent entertainers, film production staff, religious workers and visitors undertaking scientific, youth and cultural exchanges.

The visas require the applicants be sponsored by a person or organization approved by the Minister for Home Affairs. It is this process that can sometimes prove to be a bottleneck in the visa application process. By the time an agreement is reached with an overseas professional to come to Australia, it can often be the case that little time is available for the organization to get sponsorship approval, and then subsequently get visas approved for the applicant or applicants. Furthermore, the process may further be delayed if translation of documents is required. Health examinations for visa applicants are also generally required, and these take additional time to organise. And of course, the requirement for international arrivals to complete a two-week quarantine stay remains in place at this point in time.

In these circumstances, it can be tempting to simply encourage the applicant to come to Australia on a Visitor Visa. One of the most important things for a sponsoring organization to realise is that it is strictly prohibited for a holder of a Visitor Visa to engage in any sort of paid work.

Therefore, it is recommended that sponsoring organisations act quickly and decisively to apply for the correct visa, and to allow enough time to complete all the necessary visa application formalities. The goal posts for entering into Australia are continually changing, making it even more important to ensure you have the right advice and access to accurate information regarding migration and appropriate visas.

How can we help?

Snedden Hall & Gallop has expertise and experience in migration law, and is available to give legal advice and solutions to both organisations and individuals in these matters. Contact our Migration or Employment team on 02 6285 8000 or by email.