We knew this would be coming ever since the UK announced its departure from the EU. The UK has built up a reputation as being the most coveted place to be when it comes to being in a band or being a touring musician. Many cities up and down the country thrive on an influx of European talent to provide entertainment to millions of Brits every single year and this is all about to come to a grinding halt thanks to the Tory government.

EU artists have been able to come and go freely in the UK to embark on tour dates up and down the country, playing some of the most iconic venues in Europe. However, this is all about to change with the new visa rules that will cripple many venues and promoters. Many EU musicians come to the UK in search of joining or starting a new band, something that will now be impossible under new UK immigration rules.

Under the UK’s immigration rules, any EU musician wishing to come and work in the United Kingdom will have to pay £244 to apply for a Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting visa (Tier 5). So if you’re in a band of 5, that’s £1220 they’ll need to fork out before they even enter the country. Not to mention the cost of flights, ferries, trains, van hire, road crew and most likely having to pay a tax on all merch the band bring in as well. Not only this, artists will need to obtain sponsorship from a “licensed employer”. “You need to have a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer before you can apply to come to the UK to work,” according to the UK’s immigration rules.

If you’re touring for less than 3 months you must be able to prove you have at least £945 in savings and also a licensed sponsor. Many bands from the EU travel to the UK to record albums and some chose to move here whilst they build up an audience and produce their LP’s. Many bands move to the UK from the EU to try and get signed to reputable UK labels, something that is now looking like a distant memory.

UK musician and author John Robb, who is now on the board of musicians organisation Featured Artists Coalition said “This proposed new temporary work visa for European musicians coming to perform in the U.K. is an appalling restriction of musician rights. It’s unworkable, expensive and draconian and will be reciprocated for U.K. musicians trying to perform in Europe. We demand a better system before we lose our right to work and as a nation further lose valuable culture."

Not only will band members from the EU have to pay for this visa but also any road crew they bring with them must also foot the £244 bill and have £945 in savings. “A creative worker is someone who works in the creative industry, for example, an actor, dancer, musician or film crew member.” EU musicians will also need to show they have savings of £945 to cover “maintenance” during their stay in the UK or have a sponsor willing to provide this financial support. So before a band of 5 from the EU has even stepped foot on British soil they will need to have £5,945. Whilst tours don’t usually last for longer than 3 months, many musicians from the EU rely on the money they earn from gigs and merch sales to support themselves, something they simply cannot do without proving they already have a substantial amount in the bank to come here and tour.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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