UK visa-free touring petition exceeds 155,000 signatures

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British musicians were dealt a major blow following the UK’s recent Brexit deal, which failed to secure visa-free travel across Europe for touring artists. The Brexit deal leaves UK musicians facing huge visa costs when touring on the continent, prompting artists to setup a petition that already has more than 155,000 signatures.


After years of wrangling, the UK finally struck a long-awaited deal with Brussels on Christmas Eve. However, the new deal excludes musicians from a list of workers exempt from entering the EU without a valid visa. 

Meanwhile, new UK visa and immigration rules that come into force for EU citizens on 1 January 2021 will make it equally difficult for EU musicians to tour in Britain.


UK Visa Certificate of Sponsorship

The new UK visa and immigration rules state that: “Following the end of free movement on 1 January 2021, anyone from the EU that wants to perform in the UK must apply for a visa. Additionally, musicians must provide proof of savings and a certificate of sponsorship from the event organisers.”

The petition signed by British musicians amid their exclusion from visa-free travel to the EU states: “We urge the UK government to negotiate a free cultural work permit that gives us visa free travel throughout the 27 EU states for music touring professionals, bands, musicians, artists, TV and sports celebrities that tour the EU to perform shows and events.”

“We also call on the government for Carnet exception [allowing the temporary import or export of goods without having to pay duty or VAT] for touring equipment,” the petition added.

Tim Brennan, creator of the petition, argued that without visa-free travel touring will become impossible because of costs and time. He said: “As a freelancer I, and many like me, travel through the EU countless times a year on different tours and events, this will become impossible due to cost and time if we do not have visa-free travel.”


Reconsider costs and bureaucracy

Chief executive of UK Music, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, urged the government to reconsider the additional costs and bureaucracy because it could be ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back.’

Njoku-Goodwin said: “There is a real risk that British musicians will not be able to bear the cost of extra bureaucracy and delays which would put some tours at risk. Meanwhile, If musicians and creators from overseas face barriers and costs getting into the UK, audiences here could miss out on seeing some of their favourite acts.”

“The prime minister promised that there would be no non-tariff barriers, so it is vital that government delivers on this promise and ensures there are no barriers to British musicians working and touring through Europe. We will be seeking urgent reassurances on this from government,” Njoku-Goodwin added.


Ronan Keating

Boyzone star, Ronan Keating, backed the petition and shared it with his 500,000 Twitter followers, saying: “Signed. Please do the same.” can help with Sponsor Licences and Skilled Worker Visas

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