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Parliamentary bid backs music industry over post-Brexit immigration laws

Many fear the changes will have an impact on the ability of musicians and creators to travel easily across mainland Europe, post-Brexit

UK Music is supporting a parliamentary bid to safeguard the music industry amid concern over the UK government’s post-Brexit immigration shake-up.

The government is pushing ahead with the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords from today (7 September 2020).

The proposed legislation is in line with the government’s Brexit pledge to ditch the EU law which enshrined rights regarding the free movement of people across EU borders.

However, many fear the planned changes, which are due to come into effect on 1 January 2021, will have a drastic impact on the ability of musicians, creators and others to tour and travel easily across mainland Europe and will damage UK exports. This will be particularly problematic if the UK and EU fail to agree a new reciprocal trading agreement on this matter in the coming months.

Now, a group of peers led by Lord Clement-Jones is spearheading a move to amend the government’s bill. The Liberal Democrat peer is vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music which has more than 100 MPs and peers from across the political spectrum as members.

The proposed changes would compel the Home Secretary Priti Patel to report on the government’s assessment of the impact on musicians and others in the creative industries of the ending of rights to free movement of people across the EU within a month of the bill becoming law.

The amendment puts pressure on the government to explain how they intend music industry workers from EU nations to gain permission to work in the UK in 2021. It also calls on the government to outline details of any deals made by the government concerning the ability of British musicians and others to work in the EU.

UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl said, ‘Thousands of people in the UK music industry need to move quickly and easily across Europe for their work.

‘There is a real fear that without a new trading relationship in place the government’s post-Brexit changes will seriously impede that ability and damage our world-leading industry and the music industry’s export trade which is worth £2.7 billion a year.

‘The proposed amendment to the government’s legislation would pave the way for a swift assessment of the extent of any damage caused by new restrictions on movement and support calls for there to be an agreement between the UK and EU nations on this matter.

‘We are grateful to Lord Clement-Jones and his colleagues for raising this crucial issue in the House of Lords and we urge the government to adopt it to ensure the music industry does not suffer as a result of these changes.’

Lord Clement-Jones said, ‘Post-Brexit negotiations will need to take place but all of us hope for the sake of our music industry that the outcome of the amendment and any review carried out as a result will ensure that a scheme at least equivalent to the vital touring arrangements which currently exist are put in place.

‘This includes the permitted paid engagement scheme allowing for multiple visits and permit-free festival arrangements to EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and the touring visa with the EU which enables creators and performers to temporarily travel and take their equipment with them tax-free.’