Musicians permit plight gains momentum

The lack of visa free travel in the EU for professional musicians is starting to make the newspaper headlines.

  Travel in the EU is going to be difficult under the present arrangements.

As was reported on 4BR recently professional musicians now face the lack of a free cultural work permit from 1st January allows UK nationals to enjoy visa free travel throughout the 27 EU states either as individuals bands or as part of groups.

Potentially it means that each person must undertake individual visa applications for each country they work in on any tour.

Petition signatures

4BR reported that a petition which currently has attracted over 225,000 signatures means that the issue must be considered by the Government for debate.

The story has since been taken up by many leading national newspapers, with the Guardian reporting on what they called the 'double whammy' of "Covid-19 restrictions and costly post-Brexit bureaucracy that could decimate European touring."

Massive issue

Naomi Pohl, the deputy general secretary of the Musicians' Union, said work permits were going to be a particular problem when touring with larger classical music groups such as orchestras.

She told the Guardian; "When you're dealing with an orchestra, you're talking about 70 musicians needing to get a work permit. So it's a massive issue."

The article stated that foreign tours for orchestras brought in revenue of £14.4m in 2019.

Meanwhile, smaller professional groups or those with freelance professional musicians in their ranks also face problems.

Meanwhile, smaller professional groups or those with freelance professional musicians in their ranks also face problems4BR

DCMS response

In response a DCMS spokesperson told the Guardian that despite pushing for "an ambitious agreement", their proposals were not accepted.

They stated: "We recognise that there could be some additional processes for those working in creative industries, but we have ensured that the visa application processes for longer-term business travel will be transparent to provide certainty and clarity."

More information:

For more information about the petition go to:

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