Starting from spring 2020, professional athletes from non-EU countries will be able to get permanent residence in Germany through easier procedures than now, as the government will be introducing a new visa category dedicated to esports.
The German Esports Federation (ESBD), an association of organized eSports in Germany founded in November 2017, has announced this week that the German Federal Government and the States have approved new changes in regulation relevant to the recently introduced Skilled Immigration Act, which will come into force by March 2020.
The President of the ESBD Hans Jagnow, has applauded the introduction of the esports visa, in a press release issued by the ESBD.
“The German esports visa will be a big advantage for events hosted in Germany. We are the first country to establish a dedicated visa category for esports. There are more international esports events expected to take place in Germany,” he said.
According to him, with the recent move towards making it easier for professional athletes from non-EU countries to come to Germany, the country will serve as a model for other nations. He suggests that when the time comes for other countries to introduce such visa, the requirements for esports professionals shall be harmonized internationally to permit easy access to tournaments and leagues for esports athletes worldwide.
“Our determined effort over the last two years finally paid off. Visa issues at esports events in Germany will be a story of the past. The explicit recognition by the German government is an important signal in the national and international discussion about esports,” Jagnow is quoted to have said.
According to ESBD, some of the main conditions for applicants to get an esports visa is meeting the minimum age of 16 years old, a certain salary and a confirmation of professional activity by the federation responsible for esports.
The German Law on Skilled Immigrants as a part of which the esports visa is being introduced, has been approved over a year ago by the cabinet of Chancellor Merkel, in a bid to lure skilled foreign workers to the country to fill job shortages that EU nationals cannot. The law will come into effect by March 2020.