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Seek Europe-wide Visa-free work permit for Touring professionals and Artists

Submitted by Tim Brennan on Wednesday 9th December 2020

Published on Tuesday 22nd December 2020

Current status: Open

Open until: Tuesday 22nd June 2021

Current Signatures: 263,980
(count is updated approximately hourly)

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Tagged with

Artists ~ country ~ Covid ~ EU ~ Europe ~ Events ~ Seek Europe-wide Visa-free ~ Sport ~ Time ~ Touring ~ transition period ~ TV ~ UK ~ US ~ Visa ~ Wide

Petition Action

Seek Europe-wide Visa-free work permit for Touring professionals and Artists

Petition Details

We would like the UK Govt to negotiate a free cultural work permit that gives us visa free travel throughout the 27 EU states for music touring professionals, bands, musicians, artists, TV and sports celebrities that tour the EU to perform shows and events & Carnet exception for touring equipment.

Additional Information

The UK has a huge music / event touring industry which has suffered immensely due to Covid. After the end of the transition period, we face further hardship when trying to tour the EU on a professional basis, with potentially each country asking for its own visa, that would be valid only for one trip, As a freelancer I and many like me travel through the EU countless times a year on different tours and events, this will become impossible due to cost and time if we do not have visa free travel.


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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Thursday 14th January 2021

During our negotiations, we proposed measures to allow creative professionals to travel and perform in both the UK and EU, without needing work-permits. Unfortunately, the EU rejected these proposals.

The UK Government supports ambitious arrangements for performers and artists to be able to work and tour across Europe. In the negotiations with the EU, we were determined to get a good deal for British music because we recognise the value of this industry.

As negotiations began, we consulted extensively with the sector to find out what they needed from the negotiations. We listened to the experts in British music, including bodies like the Musicians Union, and reflected their views in our proposal to the EU.

During our negotiations with the EU, we sought a mutually beneficial agreement that would have allowed performers to continue performing across the continent without the need for work permits. Specifically, we proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors. This was a straightforward solution for our creative industries which would have benefited all sides.

The EU turned down our proposals on the basis that musicians were providing a service which they viewed as necessitating a work permit and/or visa.

This outcome is regrettable, however there is scope to return to this issue in the future should the EU change its mind. Meanwhile the UK Government will make the case for arrangements that make touring easier in the EU and also seek to signpost to guidance which will help UK business travelers navigate individual Member States’ immigration systems.

The UK remains open for musicians to tour here. Musicians and artists (and technical staff) traveling to the UK from non-visa national countries, which includes but is not limited to EU nationals, are able to carry out a number of activities relating to the music and touring industry without a visa. Visiting musicians to the UK may perform at events, make personal appearances, take part in competitions, promotional activities and auditions, for up to 6 months without the need for formal sponsorship or a visa if they are not being paid beyond expenses or prize money. They can also receive payment for appearances at permit free festivals for up to 6 months, or for up to one month for a specific engagement. Musicians and support staff who are being paid in the UK may also qualify for entry under the Tier 5 Creative Worker route, if they are sponsored by a UK entity licensed with UK Visas and Immigration for this purpose. Entry is for up to 12 months and the relevant rules also provide for accompanying dependents. Entry under the Tier 5 Creative Worker route is visa-free for non-visa nationals where entry is for no more than three months.

The deal delivers on the Government’s promise to take the UK out of the EU’s customs territory and to regain control of our borders. This means there will be new customs processes on goods headed from GB into the EU and vice versa. These processes ensure that customs authorities remain able to protect their regulatory, security and financial interests. As part of this, ATA Carnets can be used for temporary imports of some goods, including professional equipment, as an alternative to facing full customs controls. This is already an option for temporary goods movements from the UK to many other non-EU countries. It reflects the established international approach in line with the ATA and Istanbul Conventions.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for UK musicians and other creative professionals, and has engaged extensively with the creative industries and arts sector since the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to ensure they are aware of the new requirements. Going forward, we will continue our close dialogue with the creative and cultural sectors to ensure that they have the support they need to thrive.

We are also taking all steps we can to make the new processes as straightforward as possible for UK artists performing across the continent. Through negotiations with the EU we secured Transparency and Procedural Facilitation measures that will help ensure visa processes are as prompt and smooth as possible. The Agreement also contains provisions that promote efficient customs arrangements and we are working to make it easier to apply for and use ATA Carnets.

Furthermore, the Government is taking unprecedented action to help the music sector during the crisis. We’ve provided £1.5 billion of direct support for arts across the UK, the biggest one off investment ever, and a sum that far exceeds what’s been provided in other countries. That builds on billions more coming from furlough, the self-employed income support scheme and other government support.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Parliamentary Debate

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