The German Government has introduced an esports visa – but where’s the UK’s?

Germany has added an official visa for professional esports players.

The dedicated visa – launching in spring 2020 – will give players from non-EU countries an ‘easy procedure’ for a permanent residency in the term of their contracts. It’s part of the new Skilled Immigration Act.

Players must be at least 16 years old to apply for the visa, must have a certain salary and a confirmation of their pro esports activity by an esports federation.

The German Esports Federation ESBD (logo, pictured) is setting up a procedure for this, developed in partnership with other stakeholders.

In a blog post, the German Esports Federation ESBD welcomed the news.

Hans Jagnow, president of the ESBD, commented:

“The German esports visa will be a big advantage for events hosted in Germany. We are the first country to establish a dedicated visa category for esports.”

Hans Jagnow, German Esports Federation

“This development also may serve as a model for other nations. The visa requirements for esports professionals should be harmonized internationally in order to allow easy access to tournaments and leagues for esports athletes all over the world.

“The explicit recognition by the German government is an important signal in the national and international discussion about esports.”

What about an esports visa in the UK?

It’s no secret that UK esports organisations and tournament operators have faced difficulties getting talent outside the EU into the country to take part in tournaments and other esports activities.

For example, earlier this year, pro League of Legends player Yoppa was unable to take part in the League of Legends Spring 2019 EU Masters finals in Leicester because of visa problems:

The likes of Ukie, the British Esports Association and others in the UK esports industry have engaged with the Government to try to educate them and get a similar esports visa added. But as of yet, there isn’t one.

Well-known British esports host Paul ‘Redeye’ Chaloner has been critical of the lack of an esports visa in the UK. He said on Twitter that the UK is falling behind:

We can only hope that further lobbying from the UK esports industry will get a suitable esports visa added here.

Further reading: Esports News UK interviewed Paul Chaloner about his views on brexit and other issues earlier this year

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