Football Federation Australia (FFA) today welcomed the decision by the federal government to change the status of the occupation ‘Footballer’ on the Skilled Migration Occupation List, as one that will greatly benefit the sport.
In a review of the list, which forms part of the framework of the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa, ‘Footballer’ has been moved from the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) to the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), following extensive discussions between the government and FFA.
FFA Chief Executive David Gallop AM said the change is an extremely important one for football.
“With the introduction of the TSS Visa in March 2018, foreign players could only be granted a two-year visa, with one opportunity for renewal for a further two years.
“Today’s announcement means that an initial four-year visa can be granted, with an opportunity to apply for permanent residency after three years, greatly improving the recruitment and retention of foreign players.
Gallop added: “Our clubs compete in a global marketplace for players and the attraction of a long-term lifestyle in Australia is one of the significant factors in recruiting elite foreign players.
“This decision also re-opens the pathway for foreign players to obtain Australian permanent residency, and the potential for them to become Australian citizens and available for selection for our national teams.
“The mix of foreign players with local players is important for the overall development and success of the competition. We have seen this happen with players such as Keisuke Honda, Alessandro del Piero and Thomas Broich who have provided invaluable guidance and support to young Australian players during their time here.
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“FFA very much appreciates the work done by the Department of Jobs and Small Business, the office of the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, and the office of the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon David Coleman MP, who made the announcement today,” concluded Gallop.
Foreign players will still be able to access other visa categories for entry into Australia as they have done so in previous seasons.