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Warning over post-Brexit work permits for conferences

Booking agent Ian Smith, the founder of Brexit information service UKEArtsWork, is warning that British visitors to music industry conferences may require a work permit after the current Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.

In a new video posted to the UKEArtsWork YouTube channel, Smith addresses concerns raised in a recent Guardian article that those working in the “service industry”, which includes live entertainment, will face fines of up to €20,000 if they do not apply for special permits for visits to conferences in the event no deal is agreed between British and EU negotiators.

While the article largely focuses on the manufacturing/engineering sector, Smith is concerned the new rules could also apply to UK-based music professionals, many of whom speak at multiple conferences in continental Europe each year.

“Work permits may be necessary when attending conferences in another state”

“Here at UKEArtsWork, we’re as busy as ever fact-checking and bringing up to date info for everyone in the arts affected on both sides of the channel,” explains Smith. “The site covers as much as we can: all the ever-shifting sands for anyone working as a temp worker, from musicians to crew to management, that Brexit brings on both sides.

“We picked up recently from a Guardian story that work permits may be necessary when attending conferences in another state in an EU country or the UK – and yes, that means each and every state with their own work permit/visa rules.The bottom line is: are you doing ‘business’, and if so is this work, as this can lead to paid activities. Hint: The answer is yes…”

Frusion/Fizzion owner Smith, who is based in both the UK and Vienna, established the UKEArtsWork service in January to offer advice to live music professionals working in both the UK and EU.

Watch the video above or on on the UKEArtsWork YouTube channel.


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Industry experts tackle post-Brexit misinformation

A group of live music industry professionals have launched an online information initiative aimed at offering post-Brexit advice and guidance to those working in the music and cultural sectors in the UK and the European Union.

The initiative, named UK, Europe, Arts Work, launched on Friday 31 January, as the UK finally made its exit from the European Union. Live music professionals have been vocal on the impact Brexit will have on the industry, with freedom of movement for both people and equipment one of the major points of contention, with some artists believed to be reluctant to confirm touring commitments post-2020 until clearer information is available.

Project leader Ian Smith, former national chair of the folk, roots and traditional music section of the Musicians’ Union and founder of Frusion and Fizzion music agencies, has established the resource alongside agent, tour manager and promoter Mark Ringwood, and carnet professional Roger Patterson, to limit disruption to the cultural sectors “via the dissemination of accurate fact-checked information from all sides”.

A regularly updated website will display information from UK and EU trade bodies, as well as from organisations within the cultural industries and export offices.

“I’ve seen much to worry about the entire industry in the last year to 18 months”

The key areas covered by the resource include work permits; visas; carnets for merchandise and equipment; international tax obligations across specific EU territories; and the import and export of instruments containing restricted materials.

“I’ve seen much to worry about the entire industry in the last year to 18 months,” comments Smith, who is based in the UK, with a strong presence in Austria. “Disproportionate misunderstanding surrounding work status is impacting current and future opportunities for work as booking cycles move forward.

“I’ve witnessed first-hand artists not being selected due to uncertainty and rumours circulating. This will only get worse with severe impacts for 2021, whatever is now agreed between the UK and EU,” continues Smith.

“Our aim is to provide information to all of these affected parties and promoters whose booking decisions are influenced by uncertainty about costs and access to each labour market.”

Read IQ’s round-up of the live industry’s road to Brexit here.

See EU later: The live music industry’s road to Brexit


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