The Incorporated Society of Musicians, which represents an industry worth £111 billion pounds a year to the British economy, has warned the Tory government of the dangerous implications of their new immigration policy.
The governments new policy requires foreign musicians and performers to apply for an entry visa prior to arrival in the UK. The cost of the application will be a staggering £244 per person in the band. On top of this, artists will have to prove they have at least £1000 in their personal bank account 90 days prior to arriving in the UK. Finally, artists will have to provide an invitation letter or a sponsorship certificate from an event organiser who will then be responsible for the group during their stay.
These seemingly excessive and unnecessary regulations will effectively shut out small bands and lower-income performers from the UK, as well as undermining the UK’s vibrant small venue economy.
As a result, the Incorporated Society of Musicians has accused the Home Office of ignoring the needs of the music industry and the creative arts in general, despite former culture minister, Nigel Adams’ assurances that the industry would be protected: “It’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020,” said the minister.
Yet the government has clearly abandoned any plans they might have had to exempt the music industry from their new immigration policy.
“The Home Office has failed to grasp that touring and the creative industries are not about immigration, but a global industry in which people move around all the time,” said the Society’s chief executive, Deborah Annetts.
Of equally great concern is the possibility that Brussels will react in a tit-for-tat manner and introduce similar restrictions on UK bands touring in the EU.