Home Office denies performers and entertainers will be disadvantaged from new immigration rules

PUBLISHED: 16:11 20 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:19 20 February 2020

Anti-Brexit demonstrators in Parliament Square ahead of the UK's departure from the EU. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA.

Anti-Brexit demonstrators in Parliament Square ahead of the UK's departure from the EU. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Artists, sports players and entertainers from the European Union will not be disadvantaged by the new rules on visas, the Home Office has claimed.

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The end of the Brexit transition period will mean an end to current freedom of movement for performers and entertainers from the EU.

At present they can travel to the UK for work purposes without a permit or visa, but the latest immigration policy paper from the Home Office has sparked fresh fears that there will not be any reciprocal deal for the UK and EU entertainers.

Last month the culture minister Nigel Adams appeared to back freedom of movement for performers beyond Brexit, with campaigners in the entertainment industry calling for a two-year, multi-entry visa.

But the Home Office says it does allow the self-employed to work on events for up to a month.

It states: "They will continue to be able to enter the UK under the innovator route and will in due course be able to benefit from the proposed unsponsored route.

"The UK already attracts world class artists, entertainers and musicians and we will continue to do so in the future.

"The UK's existing rules permit artists, entertainers and musicians to perform at events and take part in competitions and auditions for up to six months. They can receive payment for appearances at certain festivals or for up to a month for a specific engagement, without the need for formal sponsorship or a work visa."

Nonetheless UK Music acting CEO Tom Kiehl feared the worse, warning that ending freedom of movement for performers "increases the possibility that member states introduce new bureaucratic hoops for UK musicians to jump through when seeking to perform across the EU."

- This article has been updated with a clarification from the Home Office.

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