Tory MP urges UK visa deal for EU musicians

29 Sep 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin has called for the government to guarantee EU musicians easy access to UK visas or free movement once Brexit negotiations are over.

Speaking at a party meeting, Mr Jenkin warned that any restrictions placed on top European musicians as part of the Brexit process could leave the industry in a state of “paralysis”, and urged the government to set up a UK visa system for visiting musicians as soon as possible.

These concerns have been mirrored by John McLeod, a board member for Manchester’s Halle Orchestra, who stated that it is not just soloists who are likely to be affected by tighter UK visa laws.

"We employ lots of international musicians on full employment contracts on a continuous basis and we are bit worried,” he said.

“We will listen to 100 musicians just to employ one musician and if we appointed them on the basis that they are, maybe, British passport holders, as opposed to Spanish passport holders, that's a concern, because there's a quality issue."

In response to these concerns, Mr Jenkin has called on the government to take action to end the uncertainty by implementing rules before general Brexit negotiations have drawn to a close.

The MP added that this approach could also be taken for seasonal workers within the agricultural industry, where many business owners are currently awaiting news on the impact Brexit could have on their seasonal employment systems.

"They need to know where they stand,” Mr Jenkin added. “This is something we can decide for ourselves.”