Violinist's anger over UK visa issues

21 Jul 2016 |
UK visa application issues have forced a talented violinist to cancel her appearance at the BBC Proms in London.
Anna Markova, who was born in Kazakhstan but now lives in Germany, was due to appear at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall on July 22. She plays violin with the French group Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, which was booked to play a programme including Mozart’s Symphony No39.
Ms Markova had attempted to secure a three-day UK visa for the trip to play at the concert, conducted by Jérémie Rhorer. However, she said the difficulty in doing so meant she has had to withdraw from the planned visit to London and the ensemble has been forced to book another violinist to play her part.
Ms Markova reacted to the problems she had faced in a post on her Facebook page.
She wrote on the social media site: “Great? Britain? If you are really so Great, why are your conditions to get a visa so small-minded, so degrading? Is it not a sheer insanity to prevent the European musicians with non-EU citizenship from coming to your country – for only three days, even with the personal invitation from the BBC Proms!”
She wrote that applying for the short-term UK visa for the performance had taken up a month of her life. She said she had supplied all the relevant information, including financial data and bank statements for six months and “all that only to play one concert”.

The violinist said her efforts had all been “for nought” because the orchestra did not have enough time to wait to find out whether she would be granted the visa. Three days before the event, she was still waiting to hear back from the UK immigration authorities and the ensemble was unable to hold off any longer.