With E-sports on the rise globally, professional gamers are now being recognised as pro athletes in some countries globally.
Earlier this year a professional athlete visa was awarded to Danny “Shiphtur” Le, of Edmonton and he can now legally train and earn a salary in the United States as a gamer. This is a huge development for professional gamers in their quest to show that professional gaming is a sport and the players should be recognized as professional athletes.
Danny Le, 20, plays the game League of Legends professionally and has received a P1-A visa to go to southern California to train for an upcoming tournament in this month. A P1-A visas are only awarded to professional athletes for temporary work in the United States border. While gamers can play and compete and earn prize money, they aren’t legally allowed to earn a salary, this is what Le wanted to do as he trained though.
Of course, this turn of events raised Eyebrows and drew a lot of sneers from athletes and the general public when first announced. However, this news was greeted in the gaming world with astonishment and applause. “This is a great development for gamers who wish to compete at an international level” said Lachlan Magain, an aspiring young DOTA Player here in Australia. “Players go to lots of effort to get good at their chosen games; they should be allowed to make money in the US like anyone else who is a professional in their chosen professions.”
According to the U.S Citizen and Immigration services, each case like this will be evaluated individually. So at this stage not all gamers will qualify to get a P1-A visa. However, this is the start of gamers being recognized for their skill.