Musicians: Visas

Home Office written question – answered on 9th July 2021.

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Photo of The Earl of Clancarty The Earl of Clancarty Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Frost on 24 June (HL Deb, col 389), what are their reasons for considering that the music industry's proposal for a visa waiver arrangement is not "consistent with our requirement to retain discretion over our own immigration requirements".

Photo of Lord Greenhalgh Lord Greenhalgh Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), The Minister of State, Home Department

UK citizens going to the EU for shorts stays and EU, EEA and Swiss citizens visiting the UK are already visa free. Musicians and performers can already undertake short-term touring without visas and permits in at least 17 Member States.

EU visa waiver agreements are also subject to the provisions of Article 6 (3) of REGULATION (EU) 2018/1806 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL which sets out an individual Member State may still decide to require a visa for short stays for people carrying out a paid activity during their stay.

The EU’s draft text for the TCA included a visa waiver agreement, which would have prohibited the parties from introducing visas on visitors from the other party unless those visitors were carrying out a paid activity (i.e. service supply or performance) during their short-stay visit. In the event they were carrying out a paid activity individual Member States could apply a visa requirement to this category of service suppliers. The ability of the UK to apply visas would have been restricted only to reciprocating by applying a visa requirement to the same category supplier for the individual member state.

The EU’s proposal would also have prevented the UK from introducing or maintaining visit visas on any future EU Member State, not just on existing ones. In effect handing to the European Union the ability to make a country a non-visa national for travel to the UK without the consent or approval of the UK.

The Government is now focusing on bilateral engagement with Member States to encourage them to more closely align with the UK's generous regime.

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