On the 8th February a 90 minute debate took place in Westminster Hall after a petition with nearly 283,000 signatures called for visa free travel for artists and technicians in Europe. MPs from across the political spectrum spoke up for musicians who are being hit with additional costs and bureaucracy to work in the EU.
It appears that visa free travel for musicians and their touring crew wasn’t included in the Brexit agreement because when the UK Government suggested this, the EU wanted a broader agreement which covered several sectors. The UK government wasn’t prepared to accept this.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage spoke on behalf of the Government at the debate and said that their original offer to the EU was still on the table if the EU would like to reconsider it. In addition, she has set up a working group regarding the issue, which includes the Musicians Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge, and since the debate has made a commitment to work with music organizations to find workable solutions. The government has also indicated that it intends to begin discussions with key EU Member states in the next few weeks to discuss issues regarding work permits.
bringing instruments on tour
One welcome piece of news is that Minister Dinenage has now confirmed that an ‘oral declaration’ can be made by musicians who are traveling with portable musical instruments and a carnet will not be needed. However, if musicians are transporting instruments or equipment by car, van or truck, they will need a carnet. The MU has secured discounts with two carnet providers, further details of which can be found here.
what you can do
In the meantime you can find out how you can take action to support work permit free travel here.