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EU Bands Will Need Touring Visas To Perform In The UK From 2021

Freedom of movement between the UK and EU is coming to an end…

The Home Office has announced that EU bands will require visas in order to perform in the UK from 2021.

While all EU artists and entertainers (plus their crews) can currently move freely between the EU and the UK without work permits or visas, this freedom of movement will end as of January next year after the Brexit transition period finishes in December.

Not only will a Tier 5 visa be required for gigs, festivals etc., it also applies if any non-UK artists are coming to the country for promotional activities, workshops, talks and other such events. This visa is expected to cost £244, and on top of that applicants must reportedly also prove that they have £1,000 in savings 90 days before even applying for it.

Gov.uk’s policy statement on how the UK’s new points-based immigration system will work reads: “We will not be creating a dedicated route for self-employed people. We recognise that there are several professions where there is a heavy reliance on freelance workers. They will continue to be able to enter the UK under the innovator route and will in due course be able to benefit from the proposed unsponsored route. The UK already attracts world class artists, entertainers and musicians and we will continue to do so in the future. The UK’s existing rules permit artists, entertainers and musicians to perform at events and take part in competitions and auditions for up to six months. They can receive payment for appearances at certain festivals or for up to a month for a specific engagement, without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa.”

“We would ask the UK government to reconsider our call for a two-year, multientry visa,” says Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. “Any future immigration system does not exist in isolation and has huge implications for the negotiation of EU and U.S. trade deals and reciprocal arrangements. It is vital that any immigration system supports musicians who will need to tour in the EU post-Brexit.

Read this next: Skunk Anansie’s Skin: “Brexit is a disaster”

Speaking to Kerrang! recently about potential problems the music industry could face following Brexit, Betraying The Martyrs’ Aaron Matts said: “Major alarm bells are going off with those who are familiar with the gruelling U.S. work visa process. For those who don’t know, it costs around £1,000 per band member from the UK/EU to obtain a visa, which takes a lot of preparation and can take months to get approved. Sometimes they are declined and there’s nothing you can do about it. This is a cost and effort that bands are willing to spend to get to the USA, which is the world’s largest market for rock music. If we’re faced with similar visa costs, will small and maybe even medium-sized European bands be willing to pay that to come to the UK? Given the tight budgets bands are already working within, probably not. Will small UK bands be able to afford to tour Europe? Probably not, unless they have well-paying jobs or generous parents.”

Posted on February 20th 2020, 6:00pm
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