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UK Border Agency and visiting musicians


NAMHE has been keenly following developments relating to the problems faced by visiting musicians and academics from overseas, increasing numbers of whom have been denied entry by the UK Border Agency.

Some members will have been aware of the efforts of Derek Scott in pursuing this issue, as well as the campaign spearheaded by the Manifesto Club and others. NAMHE Chair, Thomas Schmidt-Beste, also wrote to David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, asking him to intervene in the matter. We were therefore encouraged to learn that on February 29th the Home Secretary, Theresa May, issued a written ministerial statement that includes the following paragraph:

"In response to feedback that sponsorship requirements in the PBS can be unduly onerous and inflexible in some circumstances, we intend to create a new route outside the Points Based System for certain fee-paid activities. Visitors in this new category ('permitted paid engagements') will be able to undertake specific fee paid activities for up to one month without the need for formal sponsorship by a UK-based employer. Those who will be able to benefit will include certain professionals, for example visiting lecturers and examiners, artists exhibiting works, authors undertaking book-signings, entertainers giving one-off or a very short series of performances and sportspeople undertaking broadcasting work. They will have to demonstrate they intend to leave the UK after a month."

The full statement can be found here.

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