The British Fashion Council (BFC) has announced that it has secured UK visa concessions for models and creative freelancers. After working closely with the British Fashion Model Agents Association (BFMA), and the Home Office with the support of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the BFC was able to secure an agreement.
A change to UK immigration rules will see the introduction of a ‘Stop-the-Clock’ system under the T5 (Temporary Worker) Creative and Sporting visa.
The visa is used by models and freelancers in the creative industries, and the ‘Stop-the-Clock’ mechanism will enable international talent to travel to the UK for London Fashion Week then travel outside for work without their right to work being cancelled.
Work outside the UK
Under the concessions, if a creative worker has an engagement outside of the UK, they will no longer be required to fit within the 14-day period because of the new ‘Stop-the-Clock’ system. However, the overall validity of a T5 visa will not be extended and the calculation between engagements will only apply to time spent in the UK.
In a statement, Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council said: “This change is hugely important to supporting the competitiveness of the UK and making our country more accessible to international models and creative talent.”
“We are delighted that the work we have done on securing it will positively impact other creative British industries. The UK and London are international fashion and creative hubs and this arrangement better reflects the nature of the community and sectors that work there,” Rush added.
Meanwhile, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The international influence of the UK’s fashion sector cannot be overstated, with London Fashion Week marking a seminal moment in the fashion calendar. I am pleased that we have taken additional steps to ensure talented creatives from across the world can come to the UK for work projects more easily.
“Fashion is a truly global sector, and this will enable it to continue its vital role in the UK as we build back better from the pandemic,” he added.
Previous T5 system
Under the former T5 visa system, creative professionals were permitted to work at multiple events for up to 12 months with no more than 14 days between each individual job. If the period between jobs exceeded 14 days, a T5 visa would expire and a new visa application would have to be made.
Meanwhile, it was the duty of the licenced UK visa sponsor to ensure that the 14-day time frame was not exceeded. However, this rule proved to be extremely challenging for the fashion industry because the nature of the fashion sector meant that most professionals were working at events both in and out of the UK simultaneously.
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