It seems like Brexit talks have been going on since the dawn of time itself. With entire industries relying on the freedom of movement between the two regions, Britain’s decision to officially leave the European Union on Jan 31st has continued to spark debate.
With new laws now coming into effect, leading figures in the UK are expressing their concerns about the “disastrous” impact these changes will have on the British music industry.
Leading figures confirm that Post-Brexit immigration “will cut the legs off the bottom half of the music industry,” under a new points-based system to be introduced in 2021.
The UK’s “points-based immigration system”, set to be introduced from Jan 1, 2021, has been a particular point of contention.
The system asks EU artists to prove they have £945 in savings, alongside sponsorship from an event organiser, in order to apply for a Tier 5 visa. The cost of the visa is an additional £244, whereas current regulations allow workers to travel throughout the UK without any feeds or work permits.
“This is taking a shotgun and shooting ourselves in the foot,” Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said in talks with The Independent.
“The Home Office has failed to grasp that touring and the creative industries are not about immigration, but are a global industry in which people move around all the time.”
Annetts makes the argument that emerging or less wealthy artists will be turned off touring the UK because of these added expenses, which will trickle down to affect the small venues and local artists who have fuelled the British music scene for generations.
“This will cut the legs off the bottom half of the music industry,” she described.
Non-EU workers can apply for a 30-day Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) visa under current UK legislation. However, eligibility requirements seem to disqualify touring bands who plan to continue their tour outside the UK. The entire process is taxing enough to turn off even the most dedicated musicians.
Advocacy groups have been calling for the UK to adopt a 2-year, multi-entry visa. Minister for Culture Nigel Adams has come forward saying that “touring is absolutely the lifeblood of the industry”, however, the Home Office still gives no sign of considering alternatives or changing their plans.