After months of lobbying from the British side on the matter, the Spanish government has ended the requirement to obtain a work visa for British musicians and their crew for activities shorter than 90 days.
The UK creative industry welcomed the decision but noted that significant issues making touring “impossible” remain, TheSchengen.com reports.
“We have worked closely with the Spanish government to facilitate the trips – and they have just confirmed that musicians no longer need visas for short-term tours. Twenty-one member countries now offer visa- and permit-free itineraries for tourist performers. Culture Minister Nadine Doris, said that Six more will go.
The UK government has been accused several times of neglecting the cultural industries in the Brexit negotiations, as the industry has been unable to travel and display its artistic activities in EU member states due to difficulties arising from the requirement to obtain visas and work permits.
Moreover, representatives of European festivals have previously revealed that they are less likely to book artists in the UK due to the cost of visas, which could cause harm to an industry working to recover from the pandemic.
“The lifting of the visa restrictions by the Spanish government is a very welcome move. However, it is important to remember that major issues remain, in particular coastal navigation. [the transport of goods or passengers between two places in the same country by a foreign operator]”This makes many tours impossible,” the head of UK Music Organisation, Jimmy Ngoku Goodwin, told the Guardian.
The same also said that the organization will continue to pressure the EU countries to remove all bureaucratic and costly restrictions to which the British are subject. He also added that it was critical to the economy that musicians and crew were able to roam freely, grow their fan base and share their work across the 27-nation bloc.
TheSchengen.com previously reported that 20 EU member states had offered to end visa requirements for British workers in the creative industry, and negotiations were underway with remaining countries such as Cyprus, Greece and Croatia.
Since the UK has officially left the European Union, British citizens have been obligated to apply for visa permits if they want to travel to any EU member state, just like any other third country national. This restriction affected the country in many sectors, including the creative industries, education and travel.
It is estimated that the British creative sector has lost around £784 million due to the EU Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit all sectors across the country.
Moreover, Equity, a union of 47,000 UK artists, has previously called on the government to tackle the problem and secure a visa-free deal for workers in the sector. The union also noted that about 40 percent of performers did not qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Program or the Job Retention Scheme due to the coronavirus, leaving them in financial hardship.
Other attempts for the creative industry to be addressed by the UK government have included an online petition signed by nearly 300,000 people, including Sir Elton John, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, and many other artists.