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Calls for ‘common sense’ over artiste visa changes

22 November 2018

INDUSTRY ORGANISATIONS are calling for the government to ditch “bureaucratic box-ticking” and apply “common sense” over touring artistes from the Americas playing in Britain.

In August, the UK and Visa and Immigration Service (UKVI) altered guidance to require North American artistes to apply for UK visas if arriving via the Republic of Ireland.

Critics of the changes accuse the government of not advertising or consulting adequately over the new processes.

A letter signed by bodies such as UK Music, the Association for Festival Organisers and the Music Manager’s Forum was delivered to the Home Office by Labour MP Alex Sobel.

Addressed to the Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes, it calls for a reversal of recent changes to Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) arrangements for visiting entertainers from the Canada, South America and the US.

“The Home Office needs to apply some commonsense to this issue and reinstate the old system for visiting entertainers,” says Sobel.  “This is bureaucratic box-ticking of the worst sort.

“The danger is, performers arriving from the US and Canada are likely to organise shorter European tours, or not at all, due to the additional costs and bureaucracy.”

The letter’s signatories also include around 50 MPs and peers.

UK Music’s deputy CEO and director of public affairs Tom Kiehl says, “The government must look again to ensure the UK can maintain its position as a world leading destination for international tours.”

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