Thank you for contacting me about visa-free work permits for artists and musicians.
I wholeheartedly welcome your support for the performing arts. The UK is home to a huge number of world-class performers across a range of different disciplines and I am committed to ensuring their continued international success under the agreement between the UK and EU. I am also delighted that the Government recognises the value of the industry and supports ambitious arrangements for performers and artists to be able to work and tour across Europe.
I have been assured that the Government did not turn down a bespoke arrangement from the EU to allow musicians to work and perform in Member States. I understand that the UK proposed to capture the work done by musicians, artists and entertainers, and their accompanying staff, through a list of permitted activities for short-term business visitors. These proposals reflected the asks of the music industry itself, developed in consultation with bodies like the Musicians Union. This would have allowed musicians and support staff to travel and perform in the UK and the EU more easily, without needing work-permits. Unfortunately, the EU repeatedly refused these proposals and made less ambitious ones which would not have enabled touring or covered support staff.
I am, however, pleased that the Government has confirmed that the door remains open for the EU to change its mind, and it will continue its work to make it as straightforward as possible for UK artists to travel and work in the EU.
More broadly, there is the support provided by the Government for the preforming arts in recent months. The £1.57billion Cultural Recovery Fund is a world leading rescue package for Britain’s arts, culture and heritage industries to help weather the impact of coronavirus. I understand that a package worth £165million has taken total allocations to over £1billion.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP