HL Deb 29 October 1999 vol 606 cc52-3WA
Lord Mason of Barnsley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What conditions have to be satisfied to obtain a work permit for an overseas skilled workman to work in England, whether from European countries or any other country [HL4271]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone)

European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not need work permits.

Work permit applications must be made by employers based in Britain. Work permits are issued for a job which needs high level skills and where the employer cannot recruit a suitably qualified person from the EEA workforce. The job should require either a recognised degree level qualification and experience; senior executive skills; or high level technical skills and substantial specialised experience.

Work permits can also be issued for people to do jobs which require lower level specialist skills which are not readily available in the EEA workforce. These are known as Keyworkers. To qualify for this category, the jobs of others must also depend on the employment of the Keyworker.

Lord Mason of Barnsley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What conditions govern the award of work permits to foreign footballers to play and stay in this country; and what is the estimate of work permits granted at the present time for European and for other countries [HL4272]

Baroness Blackstone

Only footballers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are required to have work permits to play in this country. To obtain a work permit, a club has to show that in the two years preceding the date of the application the following criteria are satisfied:

  • the player has played for his country in at least 75 per cent of its competitive "A" team matches for which he was available for selection; and
  • the FIFA ranking of the player's country has averaged 70 or higher in the official rankings list.

Permits are issued for the duration of a player's contract.

The total number of work permits that are currently held by British football clubs is 59. In addition, according to information supplied by the Football Authorities, some 420 players out of an approximate overall total of 4,000 professionals are nationals of other EEA countries or have a right to work without a permit.