Immigration Routes For Artists & Entertainers: FAQ
The UK is a world-leading hub for the creative industries and there are a range of UK visas available to artists and entertainers who wish to visit or work in the UK. In this post, we answer some of the questions most frequently asked by creative and entertainment sector professionals, employers and event organisers across the film, television, music, performing arts and fashion industries.
Q. Which immigration routes are available to artists & entertainers?
The main immigration routes available to artists and entertainers are:
- Visit (Standard) – Business Creative
- Permitted Paid Engagement
- Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
- Tier 2 (General)
- Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative)
Q. How long can I spend in the UK under these immigration routes?
Each immigration route allows the visa holder to spend a different amount of time in the UK. Permitted Paid Engagement visa holders can undertake a single visit lasting up to 1 month. Visit (Standard) – Business Creative visa holders can spend up to 6 months in the UK and can enter and leave the UK multiple times during this time (unless the visit visa is endorsed as a single or dual-entry visa). Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative) visa holders can stay in the UK for a maximum period of 12 months initially, with the possibility of applying for an extension for a maximum of 12 months at a time up to a maximum of 24 months. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Tier 2 (General) visa holders meanwhile can remain in the UK for up to 5 years and then settle in the UK.
Q. Can I be paid for working in the UK on any of these visas?
Payment is possible under all the above immigration routes, with the exception of the Visit (Standard) – Business Creative route. Visit (Standard) – Business Creative visa holders are not permitted to work or receive payment from a UK source.
Q. Do I need to be sponsored by a UK employer?
You can apply for a Visit (Standard) – Business Creative visa, a Permitted Paid Engagement visa or a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa without being sponsored by a UK employer. However, you can only apply for a Tier 2 (General) or Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative) worker visa if you are sponsored by a UK employer that holds a Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor licence respectively.
Q. Is there a minimum salary requirement to qualify for any of these visas?
There is no minimum salary requirement for a Visit (Standard) – Business Creative visa, a Permitted Paid Engagement visa or a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. In order to qualify for a Tier 2 (General) visa you will need to be paid at least £30,000 per year or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the job you’re offered – whichever is higher. In order to qualify for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative) visa you will need to be paid the minimum salary as set by Equity, PACT or BECTU (except for models, musicians or circuses).
Q. Are there any conditions or restrictions that I should be aware of?
Each of the different immigration routes has different requirements and professional advice should be sought in order to confirm eligibility. However, some of the restrictions to be aware of are as follows:
Visit (Standard) – Business Creative visa holders may only undertake certain creative activities in the UK. For example, an artist, entertainer or musician may give performances as an individual or as part of a group; take part in competitions or auditions; make personal appearances and take part in promotional activities; and take part in one or more cultural events or festivals on the list of permit free festivals. Personal or technical staff or members of the production team of an artist, entertainer or musician may support the above-mentioned activities, providing they are attending the same event as the artist, entertainer or musician, and are employed to work for them outside of the UK. Film crew (actor, producer, director or technician) employed by an overseas company may visit the UK to take part in a location shoot for a film or programme that is produced and financed overseas.
Permitted Paid Engagement visa applicants must intend to undertake specific paid work in the UK and the engagement in the UK must be relevant to their expertise or employment overseas.
In order to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa in the field of the arts, you will first need to receive an endorsement from the Arts Council.
If you hold a Tier 2 (General) visa you will only be able to work for your Sponsor, though you may be able to do some additional part time work in certain circumstances.
If you hold a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative) visa then during your stay you will only be permitted to work for your sponsor in the employment stated on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
Q. Do any of these immigration routes lead to settlement in the UK or British citizenship?
The Visit (Standard) – Business Creative visa, Permitted Paid Engagement visa and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative) visa do not lead to settlement in the UK or citizenship. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Tier 2 (General) visa holders can apply for settlement/indefinite leave to remain (ILR) after spending 5 years in the UK. It is possible to apply for naturalisation as a British citizen after holding ILR for 12 months (or upon being granted ILR if married to a British citizen).
Q. Can I bring my family members to the UK?
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), Tier 2 (General) and Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Creative) visa holders can be joined or accompanied by their dependant spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner and any children under the age of 18. Visit (Standard) – Business Creative and Permitted Paid Engagement visa holders cannot be joined by their family members.
We’ve put together a free guide to the immigration routes for artists and entertainers which you can download here.
To discuss an application for a UK visa as an artist, entertainer or other creative sector professional in more detail, contact our immigration barristers in Covent Garden, London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.