Call for special arts visas

MU and Dance UK suggest post Brexit measures

Arts leaders are calling for a special visa for performers and other creatives after Brexit.

Representatives from the Musicians Union and Dance UK told a House of Lords committee that special immigration measures needed to be considered for cultural workers because of the industry’s unique working patterns.

MU chief executive Horace Trubridge said that musicians toured to multiple countries on short-term contracts and often at short notice. “Cultural and creative workers should be seen as a very distinct, atypical workforce who need special treatment post-Brexit. We would like to see a Europe-wide visa they could use to enable them to tour as efficiently as they do now.”

He added that UK-based musicians had already started moving to Europe because they were worried about future work prospects.

Just 2% of musicians polled by the MU said they thought Brexit would be good for the music industry, Trubridge said.

Dance UK said a survey of its members showed they travelled within the EU for work an average of eight times a year, proving that freedom to do so had become a “key part of their business model” and a vital income source.

“We strongly advocate for some sort of cultural exemption, or a long-duration or multiply-entry visa for cultural workers,” he said.

Mark Pemberton, from the Association of British Orchestras told the Lords committee that arts workers were highly mobile.

”We just go in [to other countries] and then we go back out again and yet we get shoved into the same rules as applied to a bank posting a banker to Frankfurt for a year. What we need is that flexibility that recognises the highly mobile status,” he said.


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