Music industry called “clueless” and “devastating” to the Brexit immigration policy
UK Music and Incorporated Society of Musicians have issued a statement reviewing and commenting on new immigration policies proposed by the time the UK leaves the European Union. An abrupt drop in immigration from EU countries with a significant impact on the British music industry is a major concern of these organizations.
In a white paper released by the British government to attract only skilled workers to the country, a salary of £ 30,000 per year for immigrants is a minimum requirement, a point widely criticized by UK Music and ISM:
“Requiring musicians, songwriters and producers from the EU to earn salaries of at least £30,000 to work in the UK poses a major threat to the music industry where music creators earn on average £20,504, way below the average for other jobs”, says UK Music, adding that there is a clear danger of retaliation by the EU, which will not benefit either party: “If the approach of the white paper is agreed, then the UK’s cultural industries may suffer retaliation from EU member states. This could mean extra costs and red tape for artists who need to cross borders for their work.”
ISM’s chief executive, Deborah Annetts, corroborates UK Music’s position, leaving a warning:
“The end of freedom of movement will have a devastating impact on British musicians. The introduction of harsher immigration rules after Brexit will cause declining diversity and creativity in the British music industry. (…) While it is good news that government does not intend to immediately introduce a £30,000 minimum income threshold for new immigrants, we do urge for any future plans [to that effect] to be abandoned. Such a threshold is not compatible with the music profession, where earnings can be less.”
In addition to expressing urgency for dialogue with the government as soon as these measures come into force, ISM and UK Music propose the introduction of a special passport allowing temporary entry of artists into British space.
UK Music CEO Michael Dugher talks about the brutal economic impact of the music industry, which could be severely affected:
“The UK music industry contributes £4.5 billion to the economy, with live music alone contributing around £1 billion. As we’ve made repeatedly clear, a crude salaries and skills approach to freedom to work post-Brexit just doesn’t work for so many artists and musicians. We risk limiting the ability for European musicians to play in our world-leading festivals, venues and studios. (…) If this approach is reciprocated by the EU and there is no visa waiver in place, we risk making it very hard, if not impossible, for so many UK artists to tour in EU. (…) It’s vital that we don’t pull the rug from under Britain’s world-leading music industry.”
But the British government, for now, does not seem to believe such predictions. In the voice of the home secretary Sajid Javid, the proposals will grow the economy:
“Today’s proposals are the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation. We are taking a skills-based approach to ensure we can attract the brightest and best migrants to the UK. (…) These measures will boost our economy and benefit the British people.”
Brexit is far from over, the repercussions are still unknown. However, we would love to know your opinion on the matter!