A new visa regulation proposed by the German government could help UK esports athletes under contract with German esports teams live and compete in tournaments after Brexit.
The proposal, which has been welcomed by the German Esports Federation, would allow pro players from outside the EU to come into the country under the same rules that are already applied to other athletes. The plans, which include a permanent residency permit, would mean any non-EU players, who are over the age of 16 and employed by an esports team registered in Germany would be able to compete.
If approved, it would mean a huge weight has been lifted off the shoulders of UK players who face the unknown over residency and travel post-Brexit, and it will no doubt be a relief for their organisations, too.
“The draft of the new regulation is good for the players, teams and the German esports location. International tournaments and leagues hosted in Germany would have a significant advantage,” Hans Jagnow, the president of the German Esports Federation, says in a press release. “After we had a first step in the right direction with last year’s ruling providing short-term sports visa for esports athletes up to 90 days, this would now bring us complete equality of esports and sports in terms of visa law in Germany.
“Visa regulations are currently blocking the development of professional esports all over Europe. Teams and tournament organisers often have difficulties bringing non-EU-citizens into their respective countries. The plans of the German government are sending a strong signal to other countries and would be providing a best-case-study for other nations to follow up on. And we would be prepared for a Brexit that might cause trouble for the residency of British esports athletes in Germany.“
The Federation has been lobbying for better visa regulations in Germany for the last three years. The federation helped support an Indian team last year, after its player’s visas were denied before a tournament in Berlin.
Germany houses a number of esports organisations, such as G2 Esports, Mousesports, BIG Clan, and more, and is also home to a number of esports tournaments. The regulation will be a significant boost to the League of Legends European League, which has its studio in Berlin.
If approved, the regulation would come into play in 2020.