Cover Image Courtesy: ESL Gaming - Helena Kristiansson, Esportbund | Thumbnail Image Courtesy: Pinterest
While there is still some time left for the arrival of 2020, celebrations have started early for the German esports community, as a dedicated esports visa was introduced in Germany a few days back.
The visa will come into action from spring 2020, enabling all professional esports athletes from non-European countries to undergo an easy procedure for obtaining a permanent residency, in accordance with the terms of their contracts.
The changes in regulations to the new ‘Skilled Immigration Act’ were implemented by the German Federal Government and the States on 20th December. The implementation of a dedicated esports visa is a big boost to the German esports ecosystem, which is already one of the leading countries when it comes to esports, especially counter-strike.
Hans Jagnow, President of the ESBD said that,
“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. This development also may serve as a model for other nations. The visa requirements for esports professionals should be harmonized internationally in order to allow easy access to tournaments and leagues for esports athletes all over the world.”
Germany is already home to ESL which is the world’s largest esports company, whose headquarters are located in Cologne. The city is also recognised for hosting one of the largest counter-strike tournament ESL One: Cologne, popularly known as the ‘Cathedral of Counter-Strike’.
The German Esports Federation, eSport-Bund Deutschland (ESBD) who is responsible for bringing around this change says that “This enables the recruitment of players and coaches from non-EU countries, bringing their individual skillset to Germany based teams.”
There are certain conditions that apply in order to obtain this German esports visa,
- Minimum age of 16 years.
- A confirmed salary.
- Documents by their local esports federation to prove that the person applying for the visa is a professional player.
ESBD has also announced setting up proper streamlined procedures to ensure that the overlaying conditions are met and that the process takes place in a diligent manner. To achieve this they will be partnering with relevant stakeholders.
ESBD has been at the forefront of this issue, continually promoting the idea of simplifying the procedure for esports athletes to obtain a visa. It was successful last year in establishing ‘short-term visas’ and has once again sought success, as revised visa regulations are set to come into effect in conjunction with the Skilled Immigration Act, presumably in March 2020.