Clampdowns on work permits for foreign basketballers have been confirmed by the Home Office.

And it could hit a number of leading British clubs with a ban on professional players from taking part in BUCS student sport from next season.

The changes, which followed an intervention in the closing weeks of the past campaign, will only allow teams in the BBL, WBBL and NBL Division One to recruit non-EEA nationals, including coaches, on either Tier 2 (Sportsperson) or Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) visas.

And in a further switch, rookies coming directly from American universities will now have to have played in either NCAA Division 1 or 2 level or NAIA 1.

The tightening of the rules – negotiated through England Basketball – is set to impact on the likes of Worcester Wolves and Durham Wildcats, who have leaned heavily on the double use of imports for BBL and BUCS competitions.

“Whilst they are able to study this should be entirely incidental as to the primary reason they are in the UK. The terms and conditions attached to Tier 2 (Sportsperson) or Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) visas, prohibit migrants from providing their professional services to BUCS and or other sporting teams,” said Basketball England in a statement.

“It is noted that it is possible that some non-EEA migrants will have obtained leave to enter or remain which does not place any work restrictions on them, for example through a spousal visa or a UK ancestry visa. However, these participants will need to satisfy Basketball England that they have the correct leave to play in the BBL, WBBL and NBL Division One Men’s competitions before they are issued a Basketball England licence to compete.

“All other NBL Leagues (Men & Women) will be classified as amateur. Teams in these leagues will not be able to bring non-EEA migrants to the UK using the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) or Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting) routes.

“In relation to the Endorsement Requirements for Tier 2 (Sportsperson) or Tier 5 (Creative and Sporting), these are being tightened up to ensure we do not displace resident labour and to ensure we only permit those participants entry into our leagues who have played / coached at the highest level.”

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