Cape Town - After the announcement of Mamelodi Sundowns' agreement to the record breaking R50 million transfer of Percy Tau to Brighton & Hove Albion, the issue of gaining a work permit has been raised for the player to complete the deal.
Despite ludicrously assumptive reports doing the rounds that the deal would fall through due to work permit restrictions - with nightmarish stories that Tau might be sent out on loan for a number of years - we have to look at the cold, hard facts.
The bottom line should be that... Brighton would not enter into negotiations in the first place if they were not confident of getting a work permit for the player.
Regulations have been tightened on foreign non-EU players gaining work permits due to the fact that only 58% of footballers granted working visas played any top-flight football in their second season.
Clubs interested in signing players have to:
- Prove that they are internationally established at the highest level.
- That their employment will make a significant contribution to their sport at the highest level.
A look at the requirements needed for a UK work permit:
The Premier League states that where applicable, a club’s application to register a player has to be accompanied by evidence to allow the League to demonstrate that the player may take up employment in the UK.
Players with passports from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area need permission to work in the UK.
The UK Home Office has a points-based system based on which clubs must apply to The FA for a "Governing Body Endorsement" for such players. If the player does not automatically meet these criteria, the club can request an FA Exceptions Panel consider the player’s experience and value in order to determine whether a Governing Body Endorsement should nevertheless be granted.
Official FIFA ranking Required % of international matches in past two years
FIFA 1-10: 30% and above
FIFA 11-20: 45% and above
FIFA 21-30: 60% and above
FIFA 31-50: 75% and above
A non-EU football player can apply for a tier two or tier five work permit, the relevant tier depending on his grasp of the English language. Under tier 2, the player can stay in the UK for three years with a possible extension for another two years. He must, however, have 70 immigration points.
The UK Work Permit officesummary of Tier 2 points conditions:
Having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) 30
Receiving an Appropriate Salary for the job in question 20
Meeting the English Language criteria 10
Having enough Maintenance funds 10
So although complex and difficult it would not be impossible for Tau to gain a work permit as Brighton have identified a talented player who has played continental competitions.