Following a widespread outcry from the entertainment industry, a visa-free permit for artists touring post-brexit is due to be discussed in parliament. This comes after Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage made a statement that musicians touring in the EU will “be required to check domestic immigration and minister rules for each member states in which they wish to tour”. Alongside this, she added that visa-free visits for touring artists was “not compatible with our manifesto commitment to taking back control of our borders“.
This new regulation essentially results in artists having to pay for a visa to tour in many EU countries and the UK. Currently, EU artists touring the UK will have to pay £95 for a Permitted Paid Engagement Visa which lasts up to 30 days. The costs and requirements for UK artists touring the EU vary from country to country.
To help provide some clarity, ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) has created a guide listing the current short term work permit requirements in each country. For many artists, the additional costs and extensive paperwork involved would make it far harder for them and members of their teams (such as sound engineers) to afford such touring.
The UK government reportedly rejected a 90-day visa free touring offer from the EU, supposedly pushing for a 30-day alternative in line with its own proposals. The 90-day agreement is standard for many other countries who deal with EU, such as the United States and Saudi Arabia who have this arrangement in place already.
However, following a petition which received over 280,000 signatures a parliamentary hearing is due to take place where MPs will debate the option of a permit which will allow musicians to tour visa-free. The debate will form part of a virtual hearing taking place on 8th February at 4.30PM GMT. The 90 minute session will be broadcasted via Parliament TV and Youtube.
Words: Ben Lovejoy