Are all Blue Jays Canadian? Could they be if they wished they were?
April 19, 2007 6:29 PM   Subscribe

If a yankee plays for the Blue Jays is he paid in Canadian money? Can he become a Canadian citizen? Is it any less difficult for him than it would be anyone else? If a Mexican citizen plays for a US team can he become a US citizen? Is it any less difficult for him than it would be anyone else? How do other teams, leagues, countries traditionally accommodate transnational players?
posted by airguitar to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total)
i doubt someone's citizenship can be expedited like that--i don't know canadian law, but i bet a foreigner playing for a u.s. team would get a work visa or a green card (resident alien status). as for the currency one is paid in, i presume that would be in the contract.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:36 PM on April 19, 2007

Best answer: It looks like baseball players are pretty much treated exactly like regular workers (until recently). For example see this article about an American player on the Orioles who was scheduled to pitch in Canada but couldn't because he hadn't obtained a work visa. Also another article about the minor leagues getting extra help for immigration because baseball players are considering seasonal workers and they ran out of work visas for them.
posted by jourman2 at 6:58 PM on April 19, 2007

Best answer: For example see this article about an American player on the Orioles who was scheduled to pitch in Canada but couldn't because he hadn't obtained a work visa.

I don't know if this substantively changes the answer to the original question, but Ponson (the [now-former] Orioles player referred to in the article) is Aruban, not American, and hence the special need for a visa. His legal status at the time (pending DWI charges) may have impacted it as well.
posted by The Michael The at 7:17 PM on April 19, 2007

As thinkingwoman said, the currency issue is completely distinct. I recall reading that Canadian hockey teams faced a challenge because they had to pay players in USD but took in revenue in Canadian dollars. But I also thought I read that some US basketball players didn't like Canadian salaries, presumably because of currency issues. Google.

Work permit and citizenship are also different issues from one another. I imagine it varies dramatically from country to country. Generally, though, you don't have to become a citizen to work -- just get a work permit -- and, generally, highly paid/skilled persons find it easier to become citizens.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:48 PM on April 19, 2007

Best answer: doing some secondary googling I came up with this law journal article (warning pdf) that discusses lots and lots of legal/immigration issues with professional athletes (mostly MLB and NBA players). It may be overkill for what you're looking for, but I'm sure it addresses most, if not all, of your questions.
posted by jourman2 at 8:35 PM on April 19, 2007

Best answer: some US basketball players didn't like Canadian salaries

I think it was more like they didn't like the Canadian tax rates for the upper brackets. Former Raptor Vince Carter comes to mind as the most prominent example.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:45 PM on April 19, 2007

I know that football players wanting to come to the UK need a work permit, and the idea is that they have to be significantly better than homegrown talent to get one. (Not an issue for fellow EU citizens though, of course, they've the same rights as UK players IIRC)
That's not normally an issue at the upper echelons, where the players being bought are usually regular internationals, which is one of the metrics, but small lower league clubs like my hometown side have had requests for player permits refused - I recall one for a New Zealand left-back who would have filled a very needed gap in our squad but couldn't get his work permit so never came.
In the early days there were moves to restrict the number of foreign players per team, but that fell by the wayside in football. Still applies in county cricket I believe.
posted by Abiezer at 1:07 AM on April 20, 2007

There is a limit on non-EU players in British football - I think it's three per team. Occasionally you'll have a British club buy a very young talented player and farm him out to another European club for a few years until he's entitled to citizenship through residency, and then they bring him in as an EU player. I'm pretty sure Man Utd have done this, and if I recall correctly Liverpool couldn't get a work permit for Mark Gonzalez a couple of seasons ago (Chile aren't a high enough FIFA-ranked team, I think - for high-enough ranked teams the player must have played in something like over 50% of internationals in the past year to get a permit) and had to wait until he was entitled to Spanish citizenship through residency there.

To actually answer your question I'd imagine a Mexican playing for a US team/American playing for a Canadian team would get a green card and a work permit through the team, and could apply for citizenship after the usual residency period.
posted by corvine at 6:08 AM on April 20, 2007

In the States I believe major league players come under the P-1 visa (which is for Individual or team athletes) and minor leaguers are on H visas.
posted by jamesonandwater at 6:15 AM on April 20, 2007

Best answer: Here is an article which states that MLB, NBA, and NHL players are paid in US dollars.

The visa that athletes use to come in is a non-immigrant visa, and as far as I know, it is not a dual-intent visa like the H-1B. So, I think that athletes would need to petition for permanent residence just like any other average joe through either marriage or other family connections.
posted by reenum at 6:49 AM on April 20, 2007

It depends on the contract. If they have any type of lawyer you bet it is in USD.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:14 PM on April 20, 2007

Response by poster: That law journal article got the Baker Botts, L.L.P. Writing Award.
posted by airguitar at 6:54 AM on April 21, 2007

Best answer: an American player on the Orioles who was scheduled to pitch in Canada but couldn't because he hadn't obtained a work visa

He wasn't just prohibited from working in Canada without a visa. He was prohibited from entering Canada due to the DUI.
posted by oaf at 7:11 PM on April 21, 2007

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