The Specific Purpose or Event visa may be in jeopardy.

The Specific Purpose or Event visa (SPV), commonly referred to as the “Rugby Visa” has changed recently. This change indicates that a sports player that currently holds an SPV is unable to apply for a new SPV while in NZ unless Immigration New Zealand is satisfied that a further SPV is required to complete the original specific purpose or event.

I wonder how many rugby clubs this will affect? Their SPV holders would need to travel offshore to apply for a new SPV and there are no guarantees that they will get back in. Also, they would most likely have to travel in the off-season where clubs are involved in national Sevens tournaments.

Overseas-based players are said to be a necessity in NZ provincial rugby as there is a lack of local talent to enable the clubs to compete at a decent level.

These players are going to turn to alternatives such as Student or Essential Skills work visas. However, a lot of players are unskilled and cannot afford high international student fees.

These changes might not put off too many overseas players from coming to NZ. However, their dream of being able to remain long-term with a hope of possibly gaining professional rugby contracts might be fading.

Cameron

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