Personal Immigration
Business Immigration

Creative Work Visit Routes for Non-visa and EU Nationals

Working in the UK has become more difficult for Europeans following Brexit. EU citizens now, like other non-visa nationals, have to consider what visa options are available for working in the UK. This post will explore what work is permitted whilst in the UK as a visitor in the context of a creative worker. It will specifically focus on non-visa nationals, including EU citizens, who are not required to make an application in advance of coming to the UK as a visitor. 

Options for Visiting the UK as a Creative Worker

The first thing a migrant should consider is what they want to do in the UK. Whilst work is generally not permitted whilst in the UK as a visitor, what they wish to do may be permissible under the permitted activities. If so, it may be possible for the migrant to enter the UK as a standard visitor

Where the activities the migrant wishes to undertake fall outside the permitted activities for a visitor, migrants may wish to consider the Permitted Paid Engagement route. 

Standard Visitor Visa – Creative Visit Visa

Requirements for a Standard Visit Visa

Even though non-visa nationals are not required to make an application before coming to the UK as a visitor, they must still meet the requirements of entering the UK as a visitor. 

In order to be granted a Standard visit visa, migrants will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that they are genuine visitors. This means that they:

  • Will leave the UK at the end of their visit;
  • Will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home;
  • Are genuinely seeking entry for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes and will not undertake any prohibited activities; and
  • Have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to their visit without working or accessing public funds. 

Migrants should be prepared to provide evidence that they meet these requirements. We advise non-visa nationals to travel with a bundle of documents which evidences that their trip to the UK meets the requirement to be a genuine visitor. As they do not need to make an application in advance of arriving in the UK, they should be prepared to show how they meet the requirements of the route at the border. Failure to do so may result in them being refused entry to the UK. 

Permitted Creative Activities 

Artists, entertainers and musicians are permitted to undertake the following activities as a creative visitor:

(a) give performances as an individual or as part of a group; and

(b) take part in competitions or auditions; and

(c) make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities; and

(d) take part in one or more cultural events or festivals on the list of permit free festivals in Appendix Visitor: Permit Free Festival List.

As detailed elsewhere in this post, migrants will need to consider what it is they wish to do in the UK. If their activities fall within the above, then they will be permitted to undertake these activities as a visitor. Migrants should be prepared to travel with documents which confirm that their proposed activities are permitted under the above. 

Prohibited Activities 

There are certain activities which are not permitted under the Immigration Rules and migrants should be careful to ensure that their activities do not fall within the prohibited activities as set out in the Immigration Rules. Legal advice should be sought where this is not clear. 

Work is not permitted whilst in the UK as a visitor, and neither is receiving payment from a UK source for any activities in the UK. Accordingly, as a rule of thumb, migrants should not receive payment in the UK whilst here as a visitor. Paragraph V 4.4. Of Appendix Visitor to the Immigration Rules states:

“V 4.4. The applicant must not intend to:

(a) work in the UK, which includes:

(ii) doing work for an organisation or business in the UK; and

(i) taking employment in the UK; and

(iii) establishing or running a business as a self-employed person; and

(iv) doing a work placement or internship; and

(v) direct selling to the public; and

(vi) providing goods and services,

unless expressly allowed by the permitted activities in Appendix Visitor: Permitted Activities, Appendix Visitor: Permit Free Festivals or the Permitted Paid Engagements in V 13.3; or…”

There are some exceptions to this payment requirement.  The Immigration Rules state:

“V 4.6. The visitor must not receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK, except for the following:

(a) reasonable expenses to cover the cost of their travel and subsistence, including fees for directors attending board-level meetings; or

[…]

(f) paid performances at a permit free festival as listed in Appendix Visitor: Permit Free Festival List, where the Visitor is an artist, entertainer or musician; or

(g) Permitted Paid Engagements, where they have permission as a Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor.”

Therefore, if migrants are to receive payment which is not permitted under the exception above, they will need to consider alternative options to the standard visitor route. 

Permitted Paid Engagement 

The Permitted Paid Engagement Visa is a route which would allow migrants to be paid in the UK, if they meet the requirements.  Non-visa nationals do not have to make a formal application ahead of travelling to the UK, but would need to go to an immigration officer at a desk rather than using the e-gates. Migrants under this route would need to be in the UK for less than one month.  Like the standard visitor route, migrants should be prepared to travel with a bundle of documents which confirms that they meet the requirements for entry as a PPE migrant. 

This avenue is only appropriate for a professional artist, entertainer, or musician coming to carry out an activity directly relating to their profession, where they have been invited by a creative (arts or entertainment) organisation, agent or broadcaster based in the UK.

An applicant seeking to come to the UK as a permitted paid engagements visitor must, in addition to the general eligibility criteria for a standard visitor:

  • Be aged 18 or over on the date of application;
  • A professional artist, entertainer, or musician must intend to carry out an activity directly relating to their profession, can carry out a permitted paid engagements where they have been invited by a creative (arts or entertainment) organisation, agent or broadcaster based in the UK, or;
  • The engagements must not last longer than one month;
  • The permitted activities must be:
    • arranged before the applicant travels to the UK;
    • declared as part of the application for entry clearance or permission to enter the UK;
    • evidenced by a formal invitation;
    • relate to the applicant’s area of expertise and occupation overseas;

A creative organisation includes all organisations involved in artistic and entertainment activities. Examples include galleries, arts faculties or departments in universities, schools and venues involved in producing or staging of events. UK based agents and broadcasters can also invite individuals to undertake a paid engagement in the UK.  Migrants are not permitted to bring their entourage under this route. 

Artists, entertainers and musicians are permitted to undertake the following activities as a visitor:

  • Giving individual or group performances;
  • Taking part in competitions or auditions;
  • Making personal appearances and undertaking promotional activities, and
  • Taking part in one or more permit-free festivals listed in the Appendix Visitor: Permit Free Festival List.

If the performances fall into the permitted paid engagements, then they will be entitled to be paid in the UK, though they will need to make specific applications for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa.  However, permitted activities must not amount to the migrant undertaking employment, or work which amounts to them filling a role or providing short-term cover for a role within a UK based organisation. Where the visitor is already paid and employed outside of the UK they must remain so.

The maximum length of stay that a permitted paid engagements visitor applicant can be granted is one month. This means that any planned permitted engagement activity must be for less than one month.  The permitted paid engagement visitor cannot use this route on a repeat basis to take up temporary employment. However, an applicant who needs to travel in and out of the UK during the validity of their visit can be issued a multiple entry visa with a validity of up to one month.

In addition to a letter confirming the invitation, the applicant must demonstrate that the activity they are coming to undertake is part of their full-time profession. When considering whether this is the case, the Home Office will consider a person’s standing, reputation, earnings and existing work commitments outside the UK. 

Migrants looking to spend more time in the UK, should consider the Temporary Worker – Creative Worker route

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to visiting the UK as a creative visitor, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.

This article was co-written by Dr Catherine Taroni and Georgina Griggs

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.




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