Washington State assistant swim coach Bex Freebairn announced on Twitter she will be leaving her post with the team. The move wasn’t by choice, however, as Freebairn is originally from New Zealand, and her work visa will be expiring in the next few weeks.
Due to the worldwide travel restrictions and significantly slowed visa processing caused by COVID-19, as well as changes in worker visa policy from the U.S. government, Freebairn says that she was unable to get her work visa renewed, and therefore won’t be allowed to legally work in the U.S.
Freebairn posted a lengthy message announcing the news on Twitter:
Notice: there is coarse language in these Tweets.
💔 until next time Cougs. pic.twitter.com/p6C2LdiVdQ
— Bex Freebairn (@BexFreebairn) June 27, 2020
Freebairn concludes her message by saying “I’ll be back”, seemingly indicating she plans to get her visa renewed as soon as she’s able to so she can return to work here in the United States.
Earlier this week, U.S. President Donald Trump temporarily suspended issuing new work visas to foreign workers. The new order will be in place at least until the end of the year and includes a variety of jobs, including those who enter the country under the H-1B visa for skilled workers, like coaches. Officials have estimated that this will keep as many as 525000 foreign workers out of the country between now and the end of the year.
Freebairn started with Washington State head coach Matt Leach back when he was the head coach at Indiana State, and remained on Leach’s staff when he took the job at Washington State. During the 2 seasons with the new coaching staff at Washington State, the Cougars have improved significantly. They had the program’s first NCAA qualifier in a decade, and have virtually rewritten their all-time top 10 in nearly every event. Additionally, and arguably most importantly, Washington State has ramped up their recruiting under Leach’s leadership, bringing in large recruiting classes for a program that had a very small roster just a few years ago.
She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.