UK government reportedly rejected “visa-free” touring deal as part of Brexit negotiations

Musicians have been sharing their anger at the news

10.01.21

Words by: Felicity Martin

There is widespread anger among the UK’s music community as reports revealed that the UK government rejected a “visa-free” touring deal as part of its Brexit negotiations.

A “standard” proposal that would exempt performers from needing a visa to enter countries in the EU for trips under 90 days was turned down by the government, according to an exclusive from The Independent.

“It is usually in our agreements with third countries, that [work] visas are not required for musicians. We tried to include it, but the UK said no,” an EU source close to the negotiations told the paper.

The UK are reported to have turned down the offer because they do not want to give the same freedoms to EU artists visiting the UK.

The Independent’s source said: “The UK refused to agree because they said they were ending freedom of movement. It is untrue to say they asked for something more ambitious.”

The agreed post-Brexit trade deal with the EU allowed workers from some professions to travel on business without the need to apply for a visa, however musicians were not covered in the deal, something that is expected to add huge costs to touring.

Portishead‘s Geoff Barrow has launched the hashtag “#BorisKilledMusic”, while Thom Yorke called the government “spineless fucks”, and Shame, Lily Allen and Tim Burgess also spoke out about the news.

A petition calling for Europe-wide visa-free travel permits for touring professionals and musicians has received more than 230,000 signatures, meaning that Parliament will have to consider it for debate.

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