House of Lords warns of post-Brexit cultural sector crisis for events

Without reciprocal visa agreements the UK could see a decline in skilled culture sector workers, including performers and entertainers.

If Brexit does not provide arrangements for movement of people between the UK and EU, the UK may see a decline in skilled cultural sector workers, a House of Lords report has found.

This could affect the MICE sector, as talent from across Europe might struggle to perform in the UK.

In its report published today, 'Brexit: movement of people in the cultural sector', the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has highlighted that bringing EU cultural workers under the same restrictions as third country nationals could harm the sector.

This is because existing visa rules require a minimum salary which is far more than what  many cultural organisations can offer. This could mean the UK may struggle to attract talent.

Lord Jay of Ewelme, chairman of the committee, said: "Individuals working in the UK cultural sector are highly mobile, and have thrived on collaboration with people from all over the world. The country benefits enormously from the sector's contribution to its economy and society, and it makes an important contribution to the UK's international image and influence.

"If the Government is to achieve its wish to establish an immigration system that meets the needs of the post-Brexit economy, the UK's negotiators will need to be flexible. This means recognising that any restrictions on EU citizens wishing to enter the UK to work may be matched by reciprocal restrictions on UK workers in the EU."

Being able to move between the UK and EU at short notice is integral to the business model of many cultural sector organisations, which are often built on the services of consultants and freelance workers working on a project basis, or working on multiple projects at one time.

The committee has recommended the government consider two possible visa options that would allow artists, entertainers and other cultural sector workers to move freely between the UK and EU:

  • Extending the permitted paid engagement and permit-free festival arrangements to EU citizens

  • Offering a multi-country, multi-entry short-term 'touring visa' for EU citizens, and seek a reciprocal commitment for UK citizens travelling to the EU

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