Sports visa options for sponsoring a Sports Coach or Professional Athlete to work in Australia

Sports visa options for sponsoring a Sports Coach or Professional Athlete to work in Australia

With the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, ongoing AFL season, as well as upcoming FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, as a sports club you may wish to consider the number of Australian temporary sports visa options to bring in overseas sports talents.


What are the visa options for the professionals in sports? 

Depending on the length of stay or the activities you are contracted for, these sports visa options may be suitable for you: –

Whatever the visa option may be, you will need to ensure that the visa applicant is granted permission to enter Australia. This requires a separate travel exemption request and we are happy to prepare both visa application and permission to enter at a fixed fee.


Short-Term Visa (3-6 months) | Temporary Work 400 Visa (Short Stay Specialist) 

If you are planning to sponsor an elite level coach or an experienced pathway director for a specific tournament only, this 400-visa may be the best option for your club.

A recent case study

In March 2021, the Modern Pentathlon Australia approached us to urgently bring in a Pathways and Performance Coach to support and guide their 2021 Olympic qualified athletes and coaches. As the role was specifically for Olympic preparation and for 3 months only, we suggested a 400 visa. With the right documents and submission, we submitted the visa application on 1 April 2021 and the travel exemption request on 8 April 2021. Both the visa and exemption request were granted on 9 April 2021.


Short-Term Visa (1-2 years) | Temporary Activity 408 Visa (Sporting Activities)

If you are planning to contract a sportsperson, an elite level coach, a performance pathway director or an adjudicator for a longer period between 1 – 2 years, you may consider a 408 visa instead.

This visa is a relatively cheap option and is usually processed within 1 month with the right documents.

A recent case study

In April 2021 , the Collingwood Football Club approached us to bring in an AFL player to compete in the seasons for the next two years. The Applicant has 2 years of full time experience as a Basketballer. We prepared and submitted the visa application on 22 April 2021, which was granted on within a week. With strong support letters and submission, his travel exemption request was granted on the same day of lodgement.


Short/Medium Term Visa (Up to 2-4 years) | TSS 482 Visa 

If you are looking to sponsor a sports talent for a longer period of time, you may consider 482-visa instead.

A 482-visa has two main streams: Short-Term (stay up to 2 years only) and Medium Term (stay up to 4 years only). If you are unsure under which stream the sports role will fall under, we are happy to discuss and advise you the most appropriate option.

As an example, occupations such as Sports Development Officer or Sportspersons (e.g. Cyclist or Tennis Player) are only eligible to apply under Short-Term stream. Occupations eligible under Medium-Term stream include Tennis Coach, Footballer, Sports Administrator.

This 482 Visa has an extensive list of requirements to be satisfied in order to make a valid application.

It is generally recommended that you seek professional legal advice to ensure that your application is processed smoothly and to avoid wasting unnecessary time and costs.


Permanent Residence Visa | Employer Nomination Scheme 186 Visa 

To be eligible for this 186-visa, your occupation must be on the 482 Medium Term Skilled Occupation List.

As written above, if you are a Footballer or Tennis Coach, you would be eligible for this 186 visa provided that you meet all the requirements.

You must be sponsored by an Australian employer and have worked for them full-time for at least three years.

If you have 3 years of highly relevant experience in your role, you may be eligible for this 186-visa provided you can secure a sponsoring employer.

Discuss with us if you wish to explore about this option. 


Permanent Residence Visa | Global Talent 858 Visa (previously known as Distinguished Talent)

This visa is more relevant to individuals with skilled and outstanding achievements in their sporting profession and are not looking to be sponsored by an Australian employer.

Main requirement is that the visa applicant must be able to show that they have exceptional record of achievements and are internationally recognised.

On top of being a permanent residency visa, the 858 visa also does not have age restrictions.

To be eligible for this visa, you must remain prominent in your sporting profession and must be able to show your international achievements, such as national or international rankings.

Other evidence, such as being a member of national sporting teams or being able to provide articles attesting to your achievements, are highly recommended and would significantly increase your chances of success.

A recent case study

In December 2019, we assisted a professional female soccer player from the US to apply for 858-visa. The Applicant has over 5 years of experience as a professional athlete representing the Melbourne City and Victory Football Club. The preparation of application materials is one of the most important parts of visa process. At the time of application, we presented the case office with the strongest and most relevant evidence possible. After 1.5 years of processing, the Department has not requested for any further supporting documents and the visa applicant is now awaiting to complete her medical checks for grant of her permanent residence visa.


What are the English requirements? 

For 400 and 408 visa, there is no English requirement.

For all other visas suggested in this article, there is an English requirement to be satisfied. Exemptions available under limited circumstances.

If you are unsure, please do not submit your applications without checking if you satisfy English requirement to avoid refusal. 


Do I need a Sponsor?

A sponsor is required for subclass 408, 482 and 186 visas, but not for 858 and 400 visas.

However, 858 visa does require a Nominator to support your visa application. The Nominator must have a national reputation in your field of profession.

Not every individual can be qualified to be a nominator of your 858 visa. Feel free to consult with us about your nominator’s professional profile to ensure that they indeed satisfy the national reputation criteria.


What are the visa conditions I should be aware of?

For 400, 408, 482 and 186 visas, there is a visa condition 8107 that restricts you from working outside of your contracted sporting activity and that you must continue to work for the employer who contracted you.


Do I need to apply for travel exemption to travel?

Yes, you would need to apply for a travel exemption to enter Australia.

As immigration expert lawyers, we have assisted many sports coaches and players to come into Australia for sports teams including the AusCycling, the Australian Football League (AFL) and Modern Pentathlon Australia.

We were able to secure a permission to entry for Professionals such as Technical Delegates and Coaches within one business week with a strong submission and supporting evidence.  


How can we assist? 

As the long-awaited Tokyo Olympics 2021 approaches, we have been engaged by many sporting clubs, such as Australian Institute of Sport, Collingwood Football Club and Triathlon Australia, looking to sponsor international talents from overseas to Australia, to support the athletes and committee members in their training and preparation for the Olympics.

Within the past 6 months, we have successfully assisted their sports professionals including football players, performance pathway directors, and podium coaches to secure a visa and travel exemption to commence work for different sporting clubs in Australia.


We are here to help.

Who are we?

Agile Legal Consulting is a boutique law firm in the heart of Melbourne CBD.  We support and assist our clients in all areas of law, with a specialisation in immigration law, commercial law, and property law. 

Led by our Accredited Immigration Law Specialist – Jensen Ma (MARN 9802879), together with a dedicated immigration law team with over 60 years of collective experience, we are passionate about providing our clients with comprehensive, client-focused solutions. 

Our multi-lingual lawyers offer assistance on a broad spectrum of immigration matters.  Come speak to us in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or Bahasa Melayu – we are always available to answer your questions.