Ministers Facilitate International Sporting Competition

  • Max Bradford

Overseas sports players and teams no longer require a work permit to enter New Zealand for tours and tournaments, Immigration Minister Max Bradford and Sport, Fitness and Leisure Minister Murray McCully announced today.

"This change to immigration policy recognises the increase in international sports competition and the benefits New Zealand gains by making it easier for sports players to visit our country," the Ministers said.

Sports players and teams undertaking short term engagements could now enter New Zealand as visitors.

The Ministers said they were also aware several national sporting associations were having trouble recruiting and retaining specialist overseas sports coaches because of New Zealand residence policy requirements.

"Following representations from Mr McCully, I have considered the unique circumstances of professional sports coaches who often have expertise and experience that may benefit New Zealanders, but who do not have formal qualifications required under our immigration policy," Mr Bradford said.

As a result immigration requirements for sports coaches will recognise combined work experience and qualifications in certain circumstances.

"These will include the completion of three years full time coaching at a regional or national level in New Zealand immediately prior to any application for residence, an offer of employment from a recognised sporting organisation, and a letter of support from the relevant recognised national organisation in New Zealand."

Mr Bradford said similar arrangements had been made for ministers of religion.