Women’s Sport Faces Visa Hurdle

ustralian visas are limiting the number of semi-professionals willing to play in the country, according to a player agent.

In an interview with the ABC, agent Jason Hill said that changing visa rules would be a boost for women’s sport in Australia.

Currently, temporary visas provide those wishing to work for a full-time wage in Australia the ability to do so but restricts them from engaging in part-time work.

This limits international semi-professional athletes from earning a full-time income whilst playing their sport in the country.

Hill explained to the ABC how these temporary visas are intended for international players who earnt enough as an alternative to a full-time wage.

“They’re mainly set up for male sport stars and they’re mainly set up in a way that the financial constraints that are put on the player is with the expectation that they’ll be earning a full-time, year-round salary,” he said.

Data from Griffith University in 2018 revealed that AFLW players were paid a base wage of AUD$16,000, with top players receiving just under AUD$30,000.

In the case of AFLW, only 14 Irish players are contracted to play this season, compared to 18 in 2021.

The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic has also played a significant role in the decrease of international players.

Hill believes changes to visas would make Australia a more viable option for international women’s sports stars, with more flexibility with earning an income.

Women’s sport in Australia is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, with the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup arguably the most significant women’s sports event to be held in Australia in recent years.