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Brexit effect artists: touring UK will require visas

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Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
Starting January 2021, musicians from European Union countries will require visas to perform live on the UK soil. The shift, prompted by Britain’s exit from the EU, puts an end to free movement between the UK and EU countries and will surely leave hundreds of people puzzled.

The Quietus reports:

Further to gigs, festivals, club nights and any promotional activity, the rule will apply to artists who attend workshops and give talks about their work. This will likely see greater costs shifted onto attendees of various events, with current rules allowing touring EU artists to perform in the UK without a visa or work permit, and vice versa.

Former Culture Minister Nigel Adams (he was replaced by Oliver Dowden in last week’s cabinet reshuffle) expressed concern last month over the possibility of introducing visas for touring EU performers, saying “it’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020.” He added that “touring is absolutely the lifeblood of the industry.”

UK Music acting CEO Tom Kiehl said of the move, which is a result of Home Secretary Priti Patel’s new points-based immigration system: “New plans confirm that from 2021 EU musicians coming to the UK for concerts and festivals will be treated in the same way as those from the rest of the world.

“This will drag some agents and promoters into the immigration system for the first time and increases the possibility that member states introduce new bureaucratic hoops for UK musicians to jump through when seeking to perform across the EU.”

It’s not yet known exactly what costs may have to be shouldered by artists, agents and promoters as a result of the changes. You can find more information on the Home Office’s new immigration system, which was announced yesterday (February 19), here.

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