By Dan Chapman
Whilst immigration and work permit/visa advice is commonly sought by football clubs and footballers (and their representatives), Full Contact are seeing an increasing need for advice tailored to motorsport.
In advising various motorsport teams we have recently highlighted the problems faced by drivers from outside the European Economic Area who wish to compete professionally in British championships. Anyone from outside the EEA who wishes to compete here must have the correct visa. If they do not and are detected by the authorities they risk prosecution, removal from the United Kingdom and being banned from returning for the foreseeable future. Sponsoring teams (including management) also risk prosecution and if caught employing an illegal worker also risk a civil penalty of up to £20,000. Some visa’s such a Tier 4 Student visa actually prohibit the holder from working as a professional sports person though other work may be permitted. Holders of such visas cannot usually work self-employed or engage in what is termed a business activity.
Clients of Full Contact have access to our specialist visa advice team who can advise in particular on the likelihood of securing a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa for those who wish to be employed by a team to race in the United Kingdom or on whether their Tier 4 Student visa may be adequate. Those seeking to invest in the industry may be eligible for the appropriate Tier 1 visa and those coming to the United Kingdom to compete in a particular race or races may be eligible for a visit visa. Each case is fact specific and we have come across cases recently where no visa at all was required, yet the team and driver in question were advised that they needed one.
We are also aware that some of the governing bodies in motorsport are relying on inaccurate immigration advice so we would urge any team or driver in need of impartial advice to get in touch!
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The spearhead and Senior Partner of Full Contact, Dan is an experienced solicitor and advocate, with a specialist background in employment law and sports.
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