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Arts: Visas

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL12635, tabled on 27 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the EU's existing visa waiver agreements with other countries which cover 'artists performing an activity on an ad hoc basis' as a basis for a reciprocal agreement for short-term visas for artists working between the UK and the EU.

Answered on

9 February 2021

In negotiations, the EU tabled a proposal for a permanent visa waiver for short stays covering UK and EU nationals. This drew on bilateral agreements they have with some other third countries, such as Columbia, Peru and the UAE. Accepting a permanent short stay visa waiver for all current and future EU Member States was not, and is not, compatible with our manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders.

This proposal was accompanied by a Joint Declaration intended to direct those Member States who currently require short stay visas for “paid activities” to waive that requirement for “artists performing an activity on an ad-hoc basis”. This offer would not have addressed the creative and cultural industries’ concerns. It did not include touring but only ‘ad hoc’ performances, did not cover accompanying support and technical staff and did not deal with the issue of work permits at all.

On the other hand, our proposals, which were developed with input from the creative and cultural sectors, would have allowed artists to tour in the UK and the EU more easily. The UK proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff, through the list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors under the Mode 4 Chapter of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This would have enabled musicians and other creative professionals to travel and perform in the UK and the EU without needing work-permits, for up to 90 days in any 6 month period. Regrettably, these proposals were repeatedly rejected by the EU.

The Government recognises the importance of touring for our world-leading cultural and creative sectors. We are establishing a Working Group, with sector representatives and government departments, with a view to assisting those in the cultural and creative sectors to work as confidently as possible in the EU.