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UK govt under pressure about EU visas

UK govt under pressure about EU visas
Prime Minister of Britain Boris Johnson. (Internet image)

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London – Pressure is mounting on the United Kingdom government to resolve issues around European Union touring visas for musicians and crews.

Since leaving the EU, British musicians are no longer guaranteed visa-free travel and may need additional work permits to play in some countries.

Composer and cross-bench member of the House of Lords, Michael Berkeley, said it left many in a “perilous position”.

The Association of Independent Music called for the two sides “to speedily return to the negotiating table”.

Meanwhile, a petition signed by Laura Marling, Biffy Clyro and Dua Lipa is calling on the government to “negotiate a free cultural work permit” that would allow “bands, musicians, artists, TV and sports celebrities that tour the EU to perform shows and events and carnet exception for touring equipment”.

At the time of writing, more than 250 000 people have signed the petition.

The UK government confirmed on Monday that “the door remains open” for further talks.

The BBC has also asked the EU for a response, but has yet to receive a reply.

What are the issues?

Now that free movement has ended, UK musicians and crews will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in a 180-day period. Certain EU countries will also require additional work permits on arrival; and touring bands will also have to pay for carnets (permits) for their equipment and merchandise.

According to the Association of British Orchestras, another barrier is the imposition of limits on road haulage – with new rules stating drivers must return to the UK after visiting two EU member states.

“This makes the standard touring model of moving musical instruments by truck from the UK to venues in multiple countries impossible,” said the ABO.

“The UK’s orchestras will need to look at hiring in European road haulage operators at additional expense.” (BBC)