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Immigration White Paper could harm UK music industry

The boss of a leading UK music company has reacted angrily to the government’s proposed legislation on immigration.

The recently unveiled White Paper, which will come to fruition in 2021, proposes a minimum salary of £30,000 for skilled migrants seeking a five-year visa to work in the UK. However, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher responded by warning Theresa May and her Home Secretary Sajid Javid that this could harm the UK’s thriving music industry.

Harm festivals

Dugher has claimed that the new legislation will create unnecessary red tape for artists crossing borders during tours, and fears EU members states may feel the same and reciprocate the measures. Calling the Home Office “clueless”, he went on to argue that a “crude salaries” approach to freedom of movement simply won’t work for artists and musicians. This would, he said, limit European musicians’ availability to play in globally popular festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading, not to mention venues and studios. The UK is commonly recognised as a world leader in music and Dugher is afraid the strict border control the government proposes will severely jeopardise this reputation.

Dugher finally argued that if the rest of the EU then reciprocates with similar measures as a response, not only will it harm the chances of foreign artists appearing in the UK, but it would also limit the potential for UK artists to tour around neighbouring countries. For many artists, European tours are the main method of building awareness and increasing their chances of making a living from their music.

Fingers in ears

Dugher wrote to Theresa May in November warning of the effects such a proposal may have on live music events, but now that her government has seemingly ignored his advice, he has bit back strongly with the clueless comment about Sajid Javid’s Home Office, adding “they have their fingers in their ears.”

The British Phonographic Industry has already warned the government earlier in the year about the effect a “bad Brexit” will have on the UK music industry. They claim that the strong agreement with the EU about touring musicians is vital for both importing and exporting music.

The White Paper will still have to go through a vote in Parliament before it becomes law in three years’ time.


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