US musician denied UK entry ‘because officials didn’t know about permit scheme’

25 Apr 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

An American musician was stopped from entering the UK because immigration officials did not know about a special work permit scheme that allows foreign artists and musicians to enter the country for paid engagements.

The case of Grammy nominated classical organist Cameron Carpenter was raised in the House of Lords by Lord Clancarty and the Home Office investigated the incident. However, Ministers have refused to apologise to Mr Carpenter over the ‘heavy handed’ treatment he received when he was wrongly stopped from entering the UK.

The organist flew into Birmingham Airport from Berlin two days before a scheduled concert but was held for seven hours overnight, where he was interviewed, finger-printed and put back on a plane to Germany the next morning.

Mr Cameron then caught a plane to Heathrow, where he able to enter the UK and travel to Birmingham to perform.

Lord Clancarty said the treatment of the musician was an ‘absolute scandal’ because he was not allowed to sleep during his detention and was marched to the Berlin flight by an armed guard, The Guardian reported.

The special scheme for musicians and artists entering the UK to perform at paid engagements was introduced two years ago because of complaints that UK visa regulations were preventing entertainers entering the country.

Home Office Minister Lord Taylor said an investigation showed that Mr Carpenter had not been mistreated.

But in a letter to Lord Clancarty, he added: "Although the guidelines and policies were correctly followed by officers, Border Force accepts that more could have been done to assist Mr Carpenter."