The Home Office has announced that EU bands will require visas in order to perform in the UK from 2021.
Currently, all EU artists and their crews can move freely between the EU and the UK without work permits or visas, however this freedom of movement will end as of January 2021 after the Brexit transition period finishes in December.
The Government's policy statement set out details of the UK’s points-based immigration system, stating that “they treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aim to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy".
Under a points-based immigration system, points are assigned for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions. Visas are then awarded to those who gain enough points.
From next year onwards, a Tier 5 visa will be required for gigs and festivals and similar work. The new rules also apply 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.
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, multi entry visa,” said 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.
The decision also reveals differences of opinion within the Government, after Culture Minister Nigel Adams said last month “it was absolutely essential” to protect free movement for artists post 2020 in an interview with Music Week.
Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said they are “deeply disappointed” that free movement for musicians and other artists from the EU has been ruled out.
“We would ask the U.K. government to reconsider our call for a two-year, multi entry visa,” she said. “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.”