English & Scottish Work Permit Requirements

Discussion in 'Yanks Abroad' started by TheFalseNine, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. TheFalseNine

    TheFalseNine Moderator
    Staff Member

    United States
    Jul 15, 2014
    Norman, Okla.
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is pretty much a copy/paste of @ArsenalMetro's work that he posted in the winter YA transfer tracker. He thought--and I agree--that it deserves its own thread, since so many questions arise as to who does and doesn't qualify for a English or Scottish work permit. If you find anything that needs correcting, please post in this thread. English requirements first, then Scottish.


    Questions about a player's UK work permit eligibility seem to come up in a lot of threads, so I wanted to go through and figure out who's automatically eligible and post it here for easy reference.

    From the Premier League website: "The UK Home Office has a points-based system based on which clubs must apply to The FA for a "Governing Body Endorsement [GBE]" for such players."

    From the Premier League handbook:

    "The FA will automatically grant a player a GBE under either Tier 2 or Tier 5 if the applicant club is able to show that that player has participated in the Required Percentage of senior Competitive International Matches played by that player’s National Association during the Reference Period [24 months preceding the application]."

    Required Percentage means:
    • 30% and above for National Associations ranked between 1 and 10 of the FIFA World Rankings
    • 45% and above for National Associations ranked between 11 and 20 of the FIFA World Rankings
    • 60% and above for National Associations ranked between 21 and 30 of the FIFA World Rankings
    • 75% and above for National Associations ranked between 31 and 50 of the FIFA World Rankings

    If a player was officially unavailable for selection for any of the matches in question, that doesn't really matter for the automatic GBE granting: "Such matches may be counted as non-appearances when calculating the Required Percentage."

    In order to qualify for a Tier 2 visa, which non-EU (for now) American players would be aiming for, an applicant needs to score 70 points on the UK Home Office Points-Based Immigration system. An applicant gets 50 for the GBE, 10 for speaking English, and 10 for having the funds to settle in the UK (£945 in a bank account demonstrates that). So, in short, getting the GBE means that an American player is going to be eligible for a UK work permit.

    tl;dr: The USMNT is currently ranked 25th in the world, so any American applying for a UK work permit who wants an automatic endorsement from the relevant UK Football Association needs to have played in 60% of the US's competitive matches over the past 24 months.

    The US has played 14 competitive matches in the 24 months preceding this January transfer window. They are:

    3/24/2017 - v. Honduras (WCQ)
    3/28/2017 - at Panama (WCQ)
    6/8/2017 - v. Trinidad and Tobago (WCQ)
    6/11/2017 - at Mexico (WCQ)
    7/8/2017 - v. Panama (GC)
    7/12/2017 - v. Martinique (GC)
    7/15/2017 - v. Nicaragua (GC)
    7/19/2017 - v. El Salvador (GC)
    7/22/2017 - v. Costa Rica (GC)
    7/26/2017 - v. Jamaica (GC)
    9/1/2017 - v. Costa Rica (WCQ)
    9/5/2017 - at Honduras (WCQ)
    10/6/2017 - v. Panama (WCQ)
    10/10/2017 - v. Trinidad and Tobago (WCQ)

    To hit 60%, a player has to have played in 9 matches. Completely ignoring any other citizenship status of US players, the following players, and only the following players, would be automatically granted a Governing Body Endorsement if they were signed by a club in the United Kingdom, with the number of appearances they had in the matches listed above in parentheses:

    Paul Arriola (11)
    Michael Bradley (11)
    Omar Gonzalez (11)
    Darlington Nagbe (11)
    Kellyn Acosta (10)
    Jozy Altidore (10)
    Clint Dempsey (10)
    Jorge Villafana (10)
    Tim Howard (9)
    Graham Zusi (9)


    To be eligible for a Governing Body Endorsement under PBS:
    1. A player must have played for his/her country in at least 75% of its competitive "A" team matches he/she was available for selection, during the 2 years preceding the date of the application; and
    2. The player’s country must be at or above 70th place in the official FIFA World Rankings when averaged over the 2 years preceding the date of the application

    Source: 2018-19 Scottish FA Handbook

    That's it. Any other player who doesn't already have EU citizenship (and no one knows how Brexit might affect those players in the future; this transfer window won't be affected) would have to go through an appeal with the Exceptions Panel (PL Handbook, p. 557 for composition, p. 567 for procedures) to get a GBE.

    Hope this helps! And if there's a need/desire for this to be updated at every transfer window, a mod can move this to a new thread and I'll update there. It felt presumptuous to post that unprompted, and I wasn't sure where it should go anyway.

    If anyone sees anything that I figured incorrectly here, please feel free to point it out!

    Thanks again, @ArsenalMetro!!
  2. Patrick167

    Patrick167 Member+

    United States
    May 4, 2017
    Even though Pulisic is not qualified above, he gets an work permit because his transfer and wages are over the median.

    The decision whether the Panel should recommend to The FA that a GBE be granted is by majority vote.

    The Panel initially takes a points-based approach to determining whether the player should be granted a GBE. If the player scores four or more points against the objective Part A criteria, the Panel will then immediately move on to conduct a subjective review of the information presented by the club and another other information it deems to be relevant.

    Part A - Objective Criteria

    Criteria Points
    The transfer fee paid for the player is above the 75th percentile of qualifying transfers. 3
    The transfer fee paid for the player is between the 50th and 75th percentile of qualifying transfers. 2
    The player’s wages are above the 75th percentile of qualifying wages. 3
    The player’s wages are between the 50th and 75th percentile of qualifying wages. 2
    The player’s current club is in a top league and the player has played in at least 30% of available minutes. 1
    The player’s current club has played in the group stages or onwards of a continental competition within the last 12 months and the player has played in at least 30% of the available minutes.

    Pulisic probably scores 7-8 on this. This is not automatic like the Competitive Matches criteria, but I doubt anyone scoring over 4 is ever denied.
    mschofield repped this.
  3. ArsenalMetro

    ArsenalMetro Member+

    United States
    Aug 5, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Arsenal FC
    #3 ArsenalMetro, Jun 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Pre-Gold Cup update

    4 competitive matches cleared from the 24-month window, so the US has now played 10 competitive matches in the past 2 years. The entire Gold Cup will happen before any more games are removed. Those games will obviously change the work permit math. We're ranked 24th, so the 60% rule still applies. As of June 12, 2019, these are the players at or above the 60% threshold, with the number of competitive appearances (out of 10) in parentheses:

    - Paul Arriola (9)
    - Omar Gonzalez (8)
    - Jordan Morris (8)
    - Michael Bradley (7)
    - Darlington Nagbe (7)
    - Kellyn Acosta (7)
    - Clint Dempsey (7)
    - Jorge Villafana (7)
    - Matt Besler (7)
    - Jozy Altidore (6)
    - Graham Zusi (6)
    - Tim Howard (6)

    The number of appearances required to hit 60% will rise throughout the Gold Cup, depending on how many matches the US plays.

    After Group Stage Match #1: 7
    After Group Stage Match #2 and #3: 8
    After Quarter and Semifinal: 9
    After Final: 10

    And then those requirements will slide back down after the tournament as the 2017 Gold Cup results clear throughout July.
    TheFalseNine and BostonRed repped this.
  4. ArsenalMetro

    ArsenalMetro Member+

    United States
    Aug 5, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Arsenal FC
    Post-Gold Cup update

    Like I said in the last post, players would need 10 competitive appearances over the last 24 months to be automatically eligible for a work permit. If a purchasing club was applying for that work permit today, the following players, and only the following players, would be automatically eligible (number of appearances out of 16 in parentheses):

    - Paul Arriola (14)
    - Jordan Morris (13)
    - Michael Bradley (12)
    - Gyasi Zardes (11)
    - Jozy Altidore (10)
    - Omar Gonzalez (10)
    - Christian Pulisic (10)

    The 2017 Gold Cup matches start clearing tomorrow and will be completely cleared out on July 27, and no more matches will clear until the summer transfer window is over. Eligibility over the next 3 weeks will vary.

    For an American player to be automatically eligible for a work permit after July 27 and for the remainder of the window, they must have appeared in 6 of 10 competitive matches. Starting July 27, the following players, and only the following players, will be automatically eligible for a work permit, assuming the US remains in the 21-30 FIFA Ranking range:

    - Christian Pulisic (10)
    - Paul Arriola (9)
    - Michael Bradley (9)
    - Jozy Altidore (7)
    - Jordan Morris (7)
    - Tim Ream (6)
    - Gyasi Zardes (6)

    If the US drops out of the top 30, the 75% threshold would apply, leaving just Pulisic, Arriola, and Bradley automatically eligible.

    Throughout the fall, the last 4 World Cup qualifiers will clear (finally), and 4 Nations League matches will be added.
    BostonRed and Winoman repped this.
  5. Dave Marino-Nachison

    Jun 9, 1999
    This is great work, but does it really need to be a sticky? England is hardly the most important country from a YA perspective these days, though I imagine most of our guys would love to play there for the money and other reasons. Maybe this could be built out into a primer on EU/other rules of interest around the world? Perhaps it could be hosted offsite and linked to from here.
  6. ArsenalMetro

    ArsenalMetro Member+

    United States
    Aug 5, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Arsenal FC
    It's a useful way to filter out bullshit transfer rumors IMO. How many times has there been a thread like "Kellyn Acosta UK interest" with people linking him to someone like QPR or Middlesbrough without considering work permit rules? And how many threads have devolved into people arguing about work permit eligibility without knowing the rules? If that can be avoided, it's a major net positive for me.
    BostonRed and Winoman repped this.
  7. Placid Casual

    Placid Casual Member+

    Apr 2, 2004
    Bentley's Roof
    A pedant writes.

    Pulisic doesn't need a work permit due to his EU passport.

    I wonder if Ream has permanent residency or citizenship by now - Depends on what he does in the close season I guess
  8. Dave Marino-Nachison

    Jun 9, 1999
    If this thread really helps as much as you seem to think it does, then wouldn't it make sense to widen its scope? I'm not disputing the value of the information.
  9. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    I'm all for widening the scope. Here's Scotland in a nutshell:

    "{Dick} Advocaat was in charge of Rangers during much of {Ipswich Town coach Paul} Lambert's time as a Celtic player. Until a few days ago he was in charge of Utrecht, but he's been replaced by John van den Brom.

    In a typically combative Old Firm clash between the two rivals, Lambert was left unconscious on a stretcher after colliding with Jorg Albertz' knee while giving away a penalty, with the incident costing the Town boss four teeth.

    Lambert put no blame on the part of Albertz, but he was not happy with Advocaat's part in the incident.

    "I'm told that that Dick Advocaat was in the referee's room during the interval demanding I should have been given a red card for giving away the penalty," Lambert said at the time. "I was out cold on the stretcher in the dressing room, waiting for the ambulance, and he's trying to get me sent off.

    "I don't have a problem with Jorg, he saw a situation and played for the penalty. He also apologised to me.

    "But what Advocaat did still disappoints me. It is not professionalism, because my injury could have been much worse for all he knew."

  10. ArsenalMetro

    ArsenalMetro Member+

    United States
    Aug 5, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Arsenal FC
    New FIFA rankings are out, putting the US at #22. So for now, nothing changes with regard to automatic work permit calculation.
    Winoman repped this.
  11. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

    Oct 9, 2011
    Somerville, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We are closing in on Brexit, which will quite possibly knock out any YAs who have been relying on a non-UK EU passport to work in Great Britain. We probably won't see an immediate change in the working of the WP, but there could be future changes if not enough "foreign" players can qualify to play in the various UK leagues.

    An interesting note:

    Back in 2016, the BBC established that 332 players in the Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premiership would not satisfy these [WP] requirements.

    Furthermore, leaving the EU means that clubs in the UK will subsequently find it much more difficult to recruit European players under the age of 18 for their academies.

    What is less clear is if the UK will stay in the EEA, but the truth is that staying in one & not the other would be a touch ridiculous, especially for the free flow of labor issue which most bothered the Brits.

    When the UK withdraws from the EU, the most likely legal position is that the UK will also fall out of the EEA and will therefore not be able to participate as an EEA member in the single market. But even if that is not so legally, it may take a long time to persuade the other members of the EEA that the UK remains a participant, during which time the UK will not benefit in practice from the single market.


    The Premier League relies on free movement of people, one of the four core tenets of the European Union, for a significant percentage of its players - it is estimated that 40% of players in the league are non-U.K. or Ireland EU nationals.

    Winoman repped this.
  12. TimB4Last

    TimB4Last Member+

    May 5, 2006
    Perhaps the work permit requirements could be waived for YAs as a courtesy to our President.
  13. ArsenalMetro

    ArsenalMetro Member+

    United States
    Aug 5, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Arsenal FC
    Welcome back!

    The United States has just completed its last competitive match before the winter transfer window, so we can start to piece together automatic eligibility for UK work permits for said window.

    As noted in the original post, automatic work permit eligibility is based on the percentage of competitive international matches a player has appeared in over the preceding 24 months. For this upcoming transfer window, that encompasses 10 US matches - 6 matches from the 2019 Gold Cup and 4 matches from the 2019-20 Nations League Group Stage.

    At this moment, the US is ranked #23 in the world based on the October 2019 FIFA rankings. Since they won both matches in the November window, I have a hard time imagining them dropping out of the top 30 before January, but because their opponents were so weak, they almost certainly won't crack the top 20.

    So, working under the assumption that the US remains between 21-30, US players will need to have made 6 competitive appearances in the 10 matches referenced above to be automatically eligible for a UK work permit (ignoring dual nationality). The list of eligible players is below, with the number of applicable competitive appearances in parentheses:

    - Paul Arriola (9)
    - Weston McKennie (9)
    - Jordan Morris (9)
    - Tim Ream (9)
    - Aaron Long (8)
    - Christian Pulisic (8)
    - Gyasi Zardes (8)
    - Tyler Boyd (7)
    - Cristian Roldan (7)
    - Michael Bradley (6)
    - Reggie Cannon (6)
    - Daniel Lovitz (6)
    - Zack Steffen (6)

    No matches will clear from consideration until June 2021. The US will add just two competitive matches in June 2020, so the 7 players with at least 8 competitive appearances will remain automatically eligible for a work permit through the summer 2020 transfer window, as long as the US remains in the top 30.
  14. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    Wonder what the FA will push for in terms of Brexit negotiations. Anyone know if they've take a position on the various proposals put forth? Theoretically, without waivers all the non-WP, non-Brits playing in the EPL would have to leave if/when Brexit happens (ie. anyone playing on an EU passport who doesn't qualify for a WP through national team qualifications.)

    A few teams stand to lose a few pounds...
    Winoman repped this.
  15. Placid Casual

    Placid Casual Member+

    Apr 2, 2004
    Bentley's Roof

    There is a pathway to settled status for all EU nationals.

    They have some time to apply.

    freisland, Winoman and BostonRed repped this.
  16. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    I haven't combed through completely and not particularly up on the nuances of Brit immigration, but I do know, through experience, that the realities of US, Canadian and Dutch immigration "green card/maple leaf card/permanent residence" and various work visas can be tricky for folks that might, for instance, be loaned to a team in the Netherlands or France for 8 or 16 months.

    Are there any residence requirements in getting status for EU citizens currently employed in the UK? And while I'm sure the big clubs (EPL and richer Champs) will have enough legal juice to get any kind of waiver that might be possible, I wonder what the practical effects will be for guys in the lower leagues, or who are released by clubs before they find another Brit club. Imagine they are out of luck.

    Be interesting to see what the practical realities are for those that aren't stars.
  17. Placid Casual

    Placid Casual Member+

    Apr 2, 2004
    Bentley's Roof
    You give the UK Government too much credit.

    They don't have a clue what the policy is going to be or how it is going to be implemented
    freisland repped this.
  18. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

    Oct 9, 2011
    Somerville, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Some details (subject to change):

    Q:Will I be able to keep on living in the United Kingdom after January 31, 2020, the new date when the UK is due to leave the European Union?

    A: Yes. Essentially the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, are protected by the agreement. If you are from the EU and have lived in the UK permanently for five years by the end of the transition period (currently December 31, 2020) then you will be able to continue to reside in the UK permanently.

    Q:What if, by the end of the transition period I haven't lived in the UK for five years?

    A: You will still be able to acquire the right to permanent residency by completing five years living in the UK, as long as you are legally resident by the end of the transition period. This right can only be lost if you leave the country for a period of more than five years.

    Q:Will my permanent resident status be conferred automatically, with no further action on my part?

    A: In most cases no, you will have to apply for your new residence status. Government guidelines say the deadline is 30 June 2021 -- six months after the end of the transition period. Exceptions are Irish citizens and people with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.

    Q:I'm an EU citizen but I've never lived or worked in the UK and wish to apply after the transition period - what will be my rights?

    A: This is not covered in the agreement. However, the Conservative government has made it clear it wants to reduce immigration to the UK and intends to end free movement for EU nationals as soon as possible. It has plans for a "points–based" immigration system for both EU and non-EU migrants, giving priority to those with skills.


    Ultimately, the passing of the Bill will mean that there will be a ‘transition period’ and free movement will continue until December 31, 2020. EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom by December 31, 2020 will have until June 21, 2021 to apply to remain in the United Kingdom under the EU Settlement Scheme.

    ArsenalMetro repped this.
  19. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    I know for Canadian residence it's basically "180 days in country means it's up to Canada to prove you don't live there, under 180 days in country it's up to you to prove you live there."

    Haven't dug deep enough into this doc yet to see what "resident" means.
  20. freisland

    freisland Member+

    Jan 31, 2001
    This bit seems like it could cause some issues for any player who goes out on loan outside UK:

    If you start work or self-employment in another EU country
    If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen you can get settled status if you start work or self-employment in another EU country and you both:
    • have lived and worked or been self-employed in the UK continuously for 3 years beforehand
    • usually return to your UK home once a week
    If you’re the family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen at the time they start work or self-employment in another EU country you may also be eligible for settled status.

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