It is still very uncertain what the recent referendum could mean for musicians touring in Europe, but it is possible that we could see reform to the current system, which allows non-European musicians to tour on a temporary ‘Tier 5’ work visa.
This may manifest itself into a US style visa system for any country outside of the Schengen Area, and provide a number of complications and financial headaches, including individual visas per member of a group, up to 6-month processing time, vigorous vetting and expenses rising beyond £5k per band.
The current process involved in gaining a temporary visa for the UK, for non-European artists is very straightforward and inexpensive; the charge of £21 covers the whole band as well as an extra cost of up to £100 to hire a certified UK sponsor to process the application. It also takes no longer than 1 hour to input the information and make payment, instantaneously providing the required ‘CoS’ numbers for each artist, representing their acceptance for the period submitted and the declared earnings from the performances.
The potential regulation that lies ahead could prove to be too timely and expensive for bands to justify, and would certainly add strain to an already stressful process for new market development, ultimately limiting career opportunities and music discovery. There is also the possibility that with a new structure around temporary visas there could be the requirement and extra nuisance and expense of a carnet (effectively an annual passport for any cargo you may be carrying; equipment or merchandise to ensure there’s no import or export of product) making most initial tours completely unaffordable.
The UK currently showcases artists from all over the world on a daily basis, and reaps huge financial benefits from artists at all levels of their careers travelling to perform in the country’s many venues and festivals. To initiate any kind of system that could threaten the diverse, international musical offering, as well as the career development for UK artists travelling into Europe, would be a devastating blow for UK music and thousands of artists around the world that have been inspired by the rich musical heritage of the UK.
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Forbes - Why Brexit Is Bad News For UK's Independent Music Industry
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