New Visa Regulations for EU Musicians Cause Concern in Post-Brexit UK

Industry professionals fear that they will deter acts from touring.

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Music
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After officially leaving the European Union last month, the United Kingdom’s Home Office has now shared new regulations that will require EU musicians to apply for Tier 5 visas in order to tour once the transition to Brexit ends in December of 2020.

The country’s new “points-based immigration system” will effectually end freedom of movement from EU-member countries to the UK, mandating that musicians, entertainers, and even athletes traveling from within the EU will face the same regulations from those traveling from outside the EU. Tier 5 visas, which currently boast a £244 GBP application fee, also require a certificate of sponsorship and for applicants to prove that they have £945 GBP in savings for 90 days before they apply.

Currently, non-EU workers can apply for a 30-day Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visa, which has led many musicians to criticize the difficulty and annoyance of applying. Of the PPE visa’s eligibility requirements, bands who plan to tour outside of the country following their UK stops could be disqualified. Musician advocacy groups, notably the Musicians’ Union, have requested the government to adopt a 2-year, multi-entry visa, sharing that visas “can cost thousands to take a band to the United States, and the cost of fast-track visa processing fees have just gone up 15%. Musicians have voiced their fears that something similar might happen with the European Union, to devastating effect.”

Deborah Annetts, the chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, recently shared with The Guardian that “we had been into the Home Office explaining to them that touring is not the same as immigration and they didn’t really get it. We have also been to the department of culture, media, and sport and they do absolutely get it.”

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