No visa worries: Artists are welcome, says UK

Several writers and artists had said that the new points-based immigration system was `intrusive`.

Updated: Jun 28, 2011, 21:43 PM IST

London: Creative artists from across the
world are welcome to come and perform in the UK, the Home
Office said on Monday, responding to concerns by several writers
and artists that the new points-based immigration system was
`intrusive`.

A spokesman said: "Creative artists from across the
world are welcome to come and perform in the UK.
As part of our commitment to the industry, we work
with organisers of international events to ensure they are
aware of the application process and are able to help
facilitate urgent cases.

However, as with any visitors to the UK, "we expect
individuals to meet our entry requirements."

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, noted writers
Salman Rushdie and several other writers and artists yesterday
said that the points-based immigration system applicable to
non-EU artists was "needlessly bureaucratic and intrusive".

They described the system as "inappropriate for
short-term visits by artists."

Besides Rushdie, signatories to the letter include
Hanif Kureishi, Hari Kunzru, Ruth Padel, Kamila Shamsie,
Michael Morpurgo, Anita Sethi and Simon Singh.

They said: "Writers and performers who have long
been welcomed by Britain now find that they are required to
undergo a visa application process that is needlessly
bureaucratic and intrusive.

Non-European Union artists wishing to enter the
country have been treated poorly, either through the
application process or at entry points".

The signatories said that acclaimed artists, such as
the Cannes Palme d`Or-winning director Abbas Kiarostami, and
Grigory Sokolov, one of the world`s great concert pianists,
had been dissuaded from future visits.

The letter said: "The `licensed sponsors` system
places a burden on arts organisations, many of which cannot
afford the cost or cope with the administrative burden.
Nor do they wish to be required (or are in many cases
able) to `monitor` the artists they invite."

The signatories called on the David Cameron
government to create a visitor route for artists and
entertainers which did not distinguish between those who are
and are not receiving payment.

This will enable artists to attend their exhibitions,
writers to be paid for reading from their works, and musicians
to be paid for performing.

PTI

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