Not only will these strict rules prohibit talent from experiencing the opportunities that UK performances offer, but also fans are bound to be disappointed when some artists would rather avoid the struggle to come and perform.
Although these problems have not become law as yet, already problems are occurring and numerous industries are calling for changes.
This cause has gained much publicity recently as the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe was successful in their fight against severe immigration policies. If the laws applied to artists at this festival that would mean that as many as 3000 non-UK or European Union artists could possibly not be able to travel to the UK.
Currently these foreign festival performers are granted a visa exemption. The new rules under tier 5, temporary workers and youth mobility, would now require a visa and a certificate of sponsorship. However at the beginning of this month it was agreed that these artists would now be able to enter the UK under a special visitor permit.
This decision was met with much approval all round, as Scottish Secretary Des Browne says, “The festivals are an essential part of Scotland’s, and the UK’s cultural and economic life and it is only right the government makes every effort to support their future success and diversity.”
Despite this success there are still major difficulties, particularly for African artists and foreigners who aim to contribute to the UK art scene for longer than just three months.
There are various hurdles for African artists playing in the UK, despite the fact that African influenced music has taken the music industry by storm of late. A major issue is the fact that some African countries do not have a UK office, therefore in order to get a visa; an artist needs to travel to another country. There are strict guidelines that state that every individual need to provide sufficient evidence that they are, for example, in a band as well as give their biometric details.
The cost of this could be unachievable for struggling artists. Costs for work permits and visas in relation to Africa’s weak currencies have always been a problem but now that everyone needs to go in person, this has made it even worse. But these kinds of problems are not only limited to African acts, even Liza Minnelli almost missed her performance due to a delay with her visa paperwork.
The situation gets worse for ballerinas. The points based system will threaten the recruitment of foreign dancers, particularly as tier 2 for those applying to skilled workers with an offer of employment; need specific language ability, qualifications and required wages. Often dancers cannot fulfill these obligations despite talent.
Yes, there has been success in relation to the festivals but the UK may still suffer through the stringent, limited requirements for other talented foreigners in the arts. Let’s hope that the UK’s art scene will be able to still claim multiculturalism and diversity, despite the struggle that this new policy will introduce.
The tier system is slowly being introduced around the world with biometric requirements already being in place in many countries. The system will only become official law by the autumn of this year.