Petition for visa-free touring after Brexit deal exceeds 150,000 signatures

Past the 100,000 required to be considered for debate in parliament.

A petition for the government to secure visa-free travel for British artists after the Brexit transition period has exceeded 150,000 signatures. This is significantly past the 100,000 mark required to be considered for debate in parliament.

The petition specifically requests the UK government “negotiate a free cultural work permit” for artists, creative workers and athletes to travel in 27 EU states, visa-free. It also asks for Carnet exemption, so those that tour with equipment can do so without paying duty or VAT.

The UK is set to officially leave the EU on 1 January 2021, thanks to a trade agreement finalised on 24 December. While it does extend visa-free travel to workers from some industries, musicians are not included. This means artists – and their accompanying crew – could be subject to hefty visa fees, especially when performing in multiple countries on tour.

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The petition has garnered widespread attention from artists and fans alike, who’ve taken to social media to further spread the word. Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess wrote on Twitter: “So many MPs namedrop bands and artists in order for them to seem relevant/cool. We now need them to help us.”

He added: “The UK music industry contributed £5.8bn to our economy in 2019. For that to continue, we need to be able to tour Europe.”

A statement from a government spokesperson (obtained by NME) reported: “We are working closely with the arts and culture sector to prepare for the end of the transition period and recognise the importance of touring for UK musicians.”

“We are seeking a reciprocal agreement with the EU to allow UK citizens to undertake some business activities in the bloc without a work permit, on a short-term basis.”

You can add your signature to the petition here.

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