Unions and trade bodies representing musicians in the United Kingdom have reportedly expressed dissatisfaction with a government announcement on European work visas, claiming that it does not change the situation at all.
According to reports, musicians and performers are increasingly accusing the UK government of neglecting their plight by failing to negotiate any Brexit agreement that would restore visa-free working conditions.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) issued a statement this week titled 'Visa-free short-term touring permitted in 19 member countries’. It stated that after discussions with each EU member state, it was able to assure that the musicians and performers did not require visas or work permits for work-related short-term tours in 19 countries.
These 19 countries include Belgium, Estonia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Denmark, France, Hungary, Latvia, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, and Slovenia.
Some saw it as a positive step forward. However, David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition, stated that nothing had changed. Performers and musicians knew about all of this in January. The notion that the government has accomplished something wonderful or that it has obtained some concessions is incorrect. The announcement is not breaking news for the music industry.
The complications of touring remained, Martin said, owing to the fact that the rules differed in each of the 19 countries. Furthermore, he stated that work permits, and visas were only one issue causing significant problems as a result of Brexit.
The Musicians' Union's general secretary, Horace Trubridge, expressed bewilderment at the government announcement. Trubridge stated that he had a meeting with the DCMS yesterday where the DCMS made no mention of this, despite the union having a lengthy discussion about visa waiver agreements.
Trubridge went on to add that the announcement appears to be a little strange. It appears to be more of a political gesture than a significant new development.