Jacey’s Autumn Newsletter

Hi, Everyone, here’s my Autumn newsletter.

For more details about any of my artists and their tours please go to http://www.jacey-bedford.com and click on the picture for their individual web pages

NEW TO THE AGENCY THIS SEASON

Huw Williams
Formerly the song writing and lead-singing half of the fantastically popular Huw and Tony Williams, Huw is now available solo for folk clubs and festivals. You can also have his one-man-show ‘Birth of an Accidental Musician.’

Donnelly and South
Keith Donnelly is now available with the lovely Lauren South. This gives Keith the opportunity to air some of his more serious songs and to play for Lauren’s beautiful singing. Lauren also plays fiddle, guitar and shruti box. “A star-quality act ready to take the folk scene by storm.” – Pete Willow

John Wort Hannam (Canada)
John‘s debut UK tour is in May/June 2023. He’s been nominated for (and won) more awards than you can shake a stick at, including Junos (Canada’s Emmys) and I just heard he’s been nominated for the upcoming Canadian Folk Music Awards in the Best Male Vocalist section. A singer/songwriter par excellence, he’s touring with fiddler Scott Duncan.

Robb Johnson
Robb will be touring his new album ‘Minimum Wages’ in the autumn of 2022 and spring of 2023. Dates available. Book him now.

Over the Moon (Canada)
Craig and Sue toured here in spring 2022 and will be back again in late August to early October 2023. A delightful Canadian Cowboy/Western Swing/ Bluegrassy/Americana duo, they too have been nominated for a Juno Award for their current album ‘Chinook Waltz’ and I just heard today that they’ve been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in the Best Group/Ensemble category.

Tania Opland and Mike Freeman (UK/Alaska)
Tania and Mike found themselves stuck in Alaska over the various Covid lockdowns, but they’ll be back in the UK in April/May 2023. With a plethora of instruments (guitars, mandos, fiddle, hand percussion, hammered dulcimer, gurdy, recorders) and Tania’s glorious voice with Mike’s support on harmonies and tall stories, they are superb entertainers.

Dan McKinnon (Canada)
A superb relaxed singer and intelligent songwriter, Dan is a true troubadour, one voice, one guitar and one train ticket. He’s been touring the UK for many years now and makes friends and fans wherever he goes. He’ll be back in the UK again in September/October 2023

Lee Collinson
Lee’s blinding ability on guitar and eclectic choice of songs. He can switch from contemporary and traditional folk, to 50s style, blues and jazz. “What a wonderful variety of well-chosen songs. Not just a superb musician but an all-round entertainer too. Such an enjoyable evening, I can’t wait to see him return.” – Andy (Dartford Folk Club)

Union Jill
Yorkshire-based female acoustic duo with over a decade of festival and folk club experience. As singers, instrumentalists and songwriters, they bring a sense of storytelling with their songs, with vocals that produce spellbinding effects with their rich harmonies. 

Keith Donnelly
Singer-songwriter/stand-up comedian (clean)/great guitarist/storyteller. Geordie-cultural-attache, Keith carries an audience along with his madcappery. Keith also offers storytelling for children in schools and at festivals and any other events you can imagine.

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Les Barker has announced his retirement with effect from 1st October 2022

He intends to continue writing and to keep his YouTube channel active.

It’s been a pleasure to work with him and I wish him well in all his future endeavours.

A message from Les:

Hello everybody. Here’s the October eletter; not quite what you’re
expecting. Following a long and disastrous trip to Stirling – I don’t
know whether it was down to old age, chemotherapy or what, I’ve decided
it’s time to call it a day, potter around here and live a relaxed life. I
can’t promise you’ll never see me again, but it won’t be as a performer.
I’m 75 and that’s a long enough working life. Many thanks to Jacey, the
Mrs Ackroyd Band members and many others for sharing all the years.

On the cancer front, I’m nearing the end of my first month of treatment
and it will all be reviewed over the next few days.
                   
Les

Les Barker, throiugh the years. Photo montage by Roger Liptrot (folkimages.com)

Les Barker montage
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NEW NAME: Jacey Bedford Agency

When I started my business in 1998 I called it Jacey Bedford Tour Management.

In those days I used to tour manage for artists coming in from outside the country, covering everything from booking the dates and sending out publicity to hiring a vehicle and doing the immigration paperwork.

I haven’t tour managed for several years.

Now I am strictly a music booking agency. I no longer tour manage, although I do book tours for artists from overseas as well as for UK-based artists. I let the name – Jacey Bedford Tour Management – linger for too long, but at last I’ve decided to change it to a simpler form.

From April 2022, my business name is Jacey Bedford Agency.

Everything else remains the same. My email is still agency@jacey-bedford.com. My phone number is still 01484 606230.

I’m still booking shows for the same lovely, talented people. You can see, hear and read all about them here at my website at http://www.jacey-bedford.com/

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NEW AGENCY FOCUS

If we are to believe Boris, Covid has come and gone, but we all know that it’s still here, it’s simply not grabbing the media attention like the terrible Russian war on Ukraine.

However, with all restrictions lifted, the music world has been given tacit permission to get back to normal. But what does normal mean in 2022? It’s almost two years since the business we love fell off a cliff. Lockdown was imposed, theatres, arts centres and folk clubs closed, and we all grabbed whatever online music was available, ticketed or not.

Artists were suddenly faced with the prospect of an indefinite period with no work and no income – and so were booking agents, managers, sound-men, lighting engineers, studio engineers, and all those music industry workers who don’t appear on stage but who are vital to the industry. Venue staff were furloughed if they were lucky. Some self-employed music business folks who had tax records for the appropriate years got the government’s SEISS grant. Others fell through the cracks and had to find other sources of income.

At the time of writing, venues are opening their doors once more, though there are a lot of changes as international artists’ tours are cancelled and last minute substitutes step in to fill the gap. Attendance is variable. I hear reports that some artists are selling out venues in one area, but getting minimal audiences in others. There appears to be no reason for the differences. Other venues report a general downsizing of audiences by about 30%, which is not surprising, given some people are still voluntarily self-isolating because they don’t believe Boris either.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Venues are booking artists again to fill in their gaps for 2022 and also into 2023. And some foreign artists are taking all their Covid shots and braving the UK.

What about me?

I’ve taken a deep breath and reassessed my business. I’m stepping back from doing Certificates of Sponsorship for incoming foreign artists. So I’m concentrating on booking gigs in the UK for home grown and foreign performers. This has always been the main focus of my agency, but I’m now actively taking on a select few new artists. Anyone interested in joining my agency should read this article first on why you don’t need an agent – and what to do when you do. Please consider carefully before dropping me a line. I’m (mostly) looking for artists who are already established in the UK.

As I write, Over the Moon are on their first tour of the UK. They are a fabulous duo from Canada playing Canadian Cowboy and Western Swing with a bluegrassy feel and a bunch of great self-written songs. Their multi-instrumentals are complemented by delightful vocal harmonies. Their tour runs to early April 2022 and they’ll be back in 2023. We’ve just had the terrific news that their new album, Chinook Waltz has been nominated for a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy).
http://www.jacey-bedford.com/OvertheMoon.htm

Dan McKinnon is coming over from Canada soon (May/June). He’s emailed me to say he’s bought his plane tickets and I have twenty-one dates lined up for him. He’s a songwriter in the vein of Stan Rogers, i.e. story songs with intelligent lyrics. Dan is a true troubador. One man, one train ticket, one guitar. He’s been touring over here for close to 18 years and his fans love him. He was caught by Covid in 2020 and had to cut his March tour short after only two gigs. I rebooked it for 2021 (which didn’t happen, of course) but now he’s returning in 2022. Hoo-ray!
http://www.jacey-bedford.com/danmckinnon.htm

I have taken on a new duo, Donnelly and South, yes that’s Keith Donnelly (who is already on my agency roster) and Lauren South, singer and instrumentalist. Keith, one of the most popular, and, yes slightly crazy, figures in the folk world, teams up with the scene’s most exciting new voice – Lauren South. Keith’s superb songwriting and guitar-playing too often take a back seat to his onstage madcappery. Not so in this duo (He promises!). Lauren’s stunning vocals on Keith’s songs, her own originals, as well as the odd ‘trad’ song, not forgetting her violin, guitar and Shruti box playing, never fail to ‘wow’ audiences wherever she goes.
http://www.jacey-bedford.com/Donnelly%20and%20South.html

I’ve also taken on John Wort Hannam, Canadian singer-songwriter, who will be touring with fiddler Scott Duncan in May June of 2023. John has been nominated for (and won) so many awards that I’m not going to start listing them here. He’s a real slice of Canadiana, with intelligernt lyrics and tunes that catch your ear. Scott’s fiddling seems to add much more than one instrument. These guys are well worth a listen.
http://www.jacey-bedford.com/JohnWortHannam.html

I have a lot more artists on my website, of course. Please take a look at http://www.jacey-bedford.com/ for the whole list.

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Covid-19 update, six months on…

What a year it’s been. I’d like a refund on 2020 because the whole year has not been fit for purpose!

All my agency gigs and tours have been cancelled up to the end of the year and we’ve just taken the decision to rearrange a Canadian duo’s March 2021 tour to 2022. I seriously doubt that the music industry will get back to ‘normal’ until there’s an effective vaccine. I foresee disruptions throughout 2021 as well. I’ve already had an update from an indoor festival due to take place in summer 2021 to say that it’s having problems booking its main venue in advance because the venue is demanding a Covid risk assessment which severely reduces the number of audience members.

Even though we knew it was serious I don’t think anyone predicted just how disruptive to the music/entertainment industry C-19 would be, and as we enter autumn a second wave is beginning. A few venues are opening again if they can social distance, but this is vastly reducing the number of tickets available. As cases rise it would not surprise me if venues were forced to close again as the winter progresses.

Some performers have managed to do live streamed shows (and charge for tickets or put out a tip-jar) but this is hardly a guaranteed income stream, so performers are struggling unless they have another job. Some are doing online teaching, but others are on paltry benefits.

Short-term Immigration for Performers – Certificates of Sponsorship and Visas
From July to just a few days ago I didn’t have any Certificates available to me thanks to inefficiency at UKVI, however I do have certificates now. Any performer wishing to come to the UK must have confirmation that their venues are legally socially distanced, and they must allow for a two week quarantine period on arrival if that’s a requirement for people travelling from their country of origin.

I can do sponsorship for anyone in the entertainment industry, film, and sports. Applicants need to provide documentation to prove their international standing, plus a full list of all their engagements in the UK. Visa nationals – i.e. those people travelling from a country whose citizens are required to get a visa for UK tourism – will need to take their Certificate of Sponsorship and apply for a visa in their own country. Please note than not all visa application offices abroad have reopened yet, and those that have are massively backlogged, so allow plenty of extra time for visas to come through.

Brexit and EU Performers
As I understand the new Brexit regulations, any European performers coming to work in the UK from 1st January 2021 will also need CoS, though they will not require a full visa. Like Americans/Canadians/Australians etc. (i.e. non-visa nationals) they can come in on a CoS as long as they are not intending to stay and work for more than 3 months. They can also come in on a PPE (Permitted Paid Engagement) if they are coming in for less than a month to do ‘a few’ gigs. (No one has ever defined ‘few’ in this context.) Check the government’s website for any recent alterations to this scheme.

Feel free to contact me by email if you have questions about visas and Certificates of Sponsorship – agency(at)jacey-bedford.com.

Stay safe in these troubled times.

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These Troubled Times – Covid 19

The Covid 19 situation is changing daily, so please check with venues and look at musicians websites before travelling to a gig that might not be happening.

This is what I know now… (Everything could change tomorrow.)

Gig cancellations

Some clubs and venues are closing for the duration of the Covid 19 crisis and cancelling their artists.  It seems likely that large gatherings will be shut down by the government once our politicians get their act together. This could affect festivals and large concerts.

I had a Canadian artist who arrived last week ready to tour in March/April, but no sooner had he arrived than the Canadian government issued a warning to Canadian citizens abroad to get a flight home a) while they still could and b) before Canada closed its borders. Hence he did 2 gigs and then had to find $2500 for a flight home.  Ouch!

Whatever country you are touring from could do the same. Don’t travel and get stranded.

Re CoS.

Before all this blew up I issued Certificates of Sponsorship for artists touring in April and May, which is now believed to be when Covid 19 will peak in the UK. It seems highly likely that, whether the venues themselves decide to close, or whether the government puts a ban on gatherings, many festivals and events will not happen this year.

At present I am not issuing CoS for artists touring in April, May and June UNLESS they have a guarantee that their gigs will go ahead (which currently is almost impossible to get), or unless they give me the go-ahead in the full knowledge that if their gigs don’t happen, for whatever reason, there are no refunds.

My feeling is that anyone intending to tour here in April, May or June should seriously reconsider rebooking their gigs for later in the year or even for 2021.

UPDATE: As of 2022 I no longer issue CoS.

Good luck, everybody. Stay safe.

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UK Visas and Certificates of Sponsorship for EU musicians in 2021

Today, 20th February 2020, the government issued guidelines for EU citizens coming into the UK to work from 2021 onwards. It’s moving all applications to a new points-based system. However Tier 5 visas for entertainers and sportspeople are already on a poinst based system.

They haven’t, as yet, issued any specific information for Tier 5 sponsors, so this is my best guess.

If everyone is going to have to go throught the points based system, then EU musicians will need a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship from 2021 onwards in order to perform in the UK. If that means EU performers are going to be treated like American and Canadian ones, they’ll be able to enter the UK to perform on Certificates of Sponsorship without getting a full visa as long as they are not coming in for more than 3 months.

[Edit added 25th February 2020: Paragraph 21 of the policy statement says:
21. Under the current immigration rules, there are a range of other immigration routes for specialist occupations, including innovators, ministers of religion, sportspeople and to support the arts. Our broad approach for January 2021 will be to open existing routes that already apply to non-EU citizens, to EU citizens (the current ‘Tier 5’).]

Performers can only get a Tier 5 CoS via a licensed sponsor. It can be a multi-entry CoS, so they can come and go. If they want permission to work for more than 3 months it involves getting a CoS and converting it to a full visa, which is more complicated (and more expensive and more time consuming) and it also gives UK Visas and Immigration the opportunity to refuse the visa if they can find an excuse to do so. However, once they have a full visa, performers can come and go for up to a year.

For anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of getting a full visa, there’s nothing in the rules, at the moment, to prevent performers getting consecutive Certificates of Sponsorship as required as long as they leave the country and come back in again to activate the new CoS.

For people who want to stay for longer than three months, the big problem that I can foresee re getting full visas is that the UKVI staff who deal with full visa applications are already overstretched and visas for non EU performers are consistently late. This might not be a big deal for Tier 2 visas (i.e. someone applying so they can work in, say, a nursing home) but UKVI doesn’t seem to realise that Tier 5 visas are time sensitive. Therefore they make no effort to deliver visas in time for concert dates.

I would hope that UKVI would increase its staffing levels to cope with additionsl work, but I’m not sure it will.

Until recently visa applications were handled by British Embassies and British High Commissions in the country of the applicant, but over the last year or so, applications have all been transferred to Sheffield. There used to be a specialist sports and entertainment department in Sheffield, but that was disbanded, so the Entry Clearance Officers who deal with applications are no longer specialists. Their lack of understanding of the entertainment industry often (sadly) shows in the way decisions are made.

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eGates at UK Airports, and how they affect Tier 5 entertainers and sportspeople coming into the UK on a CoS

London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports have a new entry system at Arrivals (Passport Control) – electronic gates (eGates), unmanned, to speed up the arrivals queue for nationals from EU countries and from seven additional countries arriving into the UK. I’m not sure whether there are eGates at Manchester, Birmingham and Stanstead yet, but if there are not now, there might be in the near future.

From the government website:

The UK Government has expanded the use of eGates at Heathrow to nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America. the majority of nationals from these seven countries will be eligible to use eGates and won’t need to complete a landing card.

Automated eGates offer an alternative to conventional passport checks.

Biometric passport chip logo

Simply scan your e-passport at the barrier. The system runs a face-recognition check against the chip in your passport, then if you’re eligible to enter the UK the gate opens automatically – all in a matter of seconds.

For everyone who has ever stood in line for an hour at the airport to show their passport to an immigration officer, this is great news, however there has been some confusion, which has caused problems for people holding Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship, i.e. entertainers and sportspeople from the aforementioned ‘new’ countries. If you go through the eGates, you won’t have your passport stamped and your Certificate of Sponsorship activated, so even though you’ve done everything right up to that point, without your CoS being activated, you still are not legal to work in the UK.

All Tier 5 CoS holders MUST go through one of the manned gates and – whether the Border Force officer asks or not – you MUST declare that you are coming in to the UK to work and that you have a Certificate of Sponsorship. Unless you do that, your CoS will show up as UNUSED on the government databse (the Sponsor Management System) and you will not be legal to work in the UK.

The expansion of the eGate system is new, and initially there was no signage to direct CoS holders appropriately. Not only that, but airport staff were incorrectly pushing everyone from the seven ‘new’ countries to the eGates. Now apparently there is signage to direct CoS holders to the manned gates, but it’s not as clear as it might be. If you are a CoS holder it’s your responsibility to make sure you go through a manned gate and SHOW YOUR CoS to the Border Force officer and get your correct passport stamp. If airport staff try to direct you to the unmanned gate, make sure you tell them you have a Tier 5 CoS.

You have been warned!

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Ireland is Different. Notes for non EU performers entering the UK via the Irish Republic.

You might be aware that (as of 2018) there were problems for non EU performers trying to enter the UK via the Irish Republic on a Certificate of Sponsorship. Yes? No? Can’t remember? Go and read here, I’ll wait.

Just as a reminder: a non-visa national can enter the UK to work in Tier 5 (Entertainment/Sports) occupations on a Certificate of Sponsorship, without having to convert it into a full visa. Non visa nationals are people from countries like Canada, Australia, Japan, the USA – i.e. those countries outside the EU whose citizens can come to the UK for tourism without getting a visa first.

That problem of entry through Ireland on a CoS (without a full visa) has now been solved (sort of) by a bodge from UKVI. Non-visa nationals can now enter the UK from the Irish Republic providing that they fill in an Entry Clearance form and send it to the UKVI at least three days before their entry to the UK. This will then be returned to them, stamped. They keep this form with their passport and are then perfectly legal to come into the UK to perform without getting any further arrival stamps in their passports when they get to the UK.

The form is downloadable here Entry Clearance through Ireland.

And there’s an explanation here.

Just one small word of warning. If you are transiting through Ireland (i.e. simply changing planes) the above is fine. Just make sure you have your Certificate of Sponsorship and your stamped Entry Clearance form before you travel.

If, however, you are stopping off to spend some time in Ireland before travelling onward to the UK to play gigs, you will need to have your CoS and Entry Clearance form before you land in Ireland. Yes, theoretically, you don’t actually need your CoS until it’s time to enter the UK, but the immigration folks at Dublin airport will want to see your UK CoS (and possibly your Entry Clearance form) before allowing you to land in Ireland. If you are only spending a few days in Ireland before travelling to the UK this is probably not a problem, but if you are spending a significant length of time in Ireland before travelling, you might be forgiven for thinking you have time to get your CoS and Entry Clearance in place while you are in Ireland.

Warning! You don’t. Without a CoS for the UK, they can deny you entry to the Irish Republic, and send you back to wherever you came from on the next flight.

Make sure that whoever is issuing your CoS in the UK knows a) that you are coming in via the Irish Republic, and b) that you need your CoS at least three days in advance of your flight into the Irish Republic in time for you to send off the entry clearance form.

If you’ve travelled in via the Irish Republic before, and simply had your passport stamped in Ireland, with no further questions or red tape, be aware that this has changed. Don’t think that because you’ve done it before, you can do it again.

I had a close call this morning (30th May) because a performer was supposed to be coming into the UK on 6th June. I knew the performer was coming in through Ireland. I didn’t know the performer was arriving in Ireland a week earlier than the UK entry date. The performer had only sent application details to me a few days earlier, and with an entry date of 6th June, I thought we had plenty of time… We didn’t. Luckily the Irish immigration officer called me from the airport on the performer’s behalf, and I was able to provide the paperwork by return email.

Entry through Ireland has all been made infinitely more complicated by Brexit, of course, and once Brexit happens, all bets are off. Watch this space… Things are going to change…

 

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Little known UK legislation from 1972 is causing problems for non-EU performers coming to the UK via Dublin, Ireland.

Steve Richard from T&S Immigration Services Ltd alerted me to a worrying new turn of events for non-visa national performers routing their UK entry via Ireland (Irish Republic, that is.)

There’s an outdated piece of immigration legislation – The Control of Entry Through Ireland Order 1972 – which prohibits anyone from outside the EU coming to work in the UK from Ireland unless they have a full visa. This affects all categories of immigrants to the UK, but for the purposes of this piece I’m concentrating on Tier 5 Entertainers and Sportspeople.

Let me first explain the difference between non-visa nationals and visa nationals because this is the crux of this particular matter. I stress that people from EU countries are not affected.

VISA NATIONALS are people from countries whose citizens are required to have a visa before travelling to the UK for any reason whatsoever (including tourism). These countries include the African countries, most of the South American ones, Russia, India, Pakistan, and, in fact, most Asian countries (except, surprisingly Taiwan). All of the people from these and a long list of countries need a visa to come to the UK. They are VISA NATIONALS

You can find a list of Visa National countries here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules

NON-VISA NATIONALS are from countries whose citizens are allowed into the UK visa-free for the purposes of tourism ONLY. (Countries like Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, Taiwan etc.) They do, however, need paperwork in order to come here to work. Non-visa Nationals can come into the UK to perform on a Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship for a period of up to three months without the need to convert their CoS to a visa (now called ENTRY CLEARANCE). If they are coming in for more than three months then they do need a visa.

You can check if you need a visa to travel to the UK here: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.

OK, got that?

So non-visa nationals coming to the UK to perform under Tier 5 rules for less than 3 months do not need anything more than a certificate of Sponsorship.

EXCEPT…

If they are routing through the Irish Republic.

They can route through any other EU country with no problem, BUT not the Irish Republic because of the The Control of Entry Through Ireland Order 1972. (Remember 1972 was a period when the ‘troubles’ in Ireland were giving a lot of concern.) This piece of legislation states that anyone (all nationalities) coming to the UK from Ireland to work in any occupation must have a full visa. (Note we didn’t join the EU until 1973.)

When the UK government changed the immigration rules in 2008 and moved Tier 5 to an electronic application process via licenced sponsors, they did not change or rescind the Control Order Legislation.

Until very recently the authorities in Dublin and the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) were ignoring that aspect of the Control Order for the outdated bit of nonsense that it is. However earlier this week (May 2018) a pair of US musicians in possession of valid Certificates of Sponsorship were turned back from Dublin Airport because they were travelling onward to the UK and did not have full visas. At the request of their agents they were eventually allowed to fly to France rather than being sent all the way back to California. From France they can legitimately enter the UK on their perfectly legal Certificates of Sponsorship.

Steve Richard from T&S explains it like this:

Most bands have been using work permits – and then CoS since 2008 – as entry documents since 1971. They have never been prevented from entering via Ireland until now. Basically the Control Order runs contrary to the rest of the UK immigration rules for entertainers, saying you can’t do any work in the UK unless you first obtain a visa before you travel. This was widely ignored by both the Irish and UK immigration authorities until the latter half of last year. It seems someone queried it, and pushed for a policy ruling. The Home Office Policy Department in Westminster found the Control Order, realised it didn’t allow entertainers to do ANY work without a visa (regardless of whether they’re carrying a CoS, a permit-free festival invitation or whatever), and told UK border posts to watch out for this, seeing it as a route open to abuse.

Combined with this has been the fact that the Department of Justice seems to have taken over the immigration handling at Dublin Airport (taking over from the Garda). They are increasingly demanding to see UK paperwork if a band arrives there and is travelling on to the UK. They didn’t used to ask for this. Now they’re speaking to UK ports, and those ports have been told that any work in the UK would be a breach unless they have entry visas, so Ireland is now starting to deny entry to these bands. If they go to France and enter the UK from there, their CoS or permit-free festival letter magically becomes acceptable again. 

As you can imagine, this is a huge cause for concern as many performers, particularly American and Canadian ones, route in through Ireland. Steve Richard is particularly concerned that the UKVI does not make it clear in the 222 page long sponsor guidance or the wider Immigration rules that entry through Ireland is different to entering from anywhere else. An American (or any non-visa national) band is suddenly required to get visas if their flights stop off in Dublin, whereas they don’t if they stop off in Paris or anywhere else. 

My advice to non-visa nationals travelling to the UK is NOT to route your flight through Dublin. It may be cheaper, but ultimately it could mean you are refused entry due to newly enforced legislation that should have been reconsidered decades ago.

The UK is proud of creating a hostile environment for illegal immigrants, but now they seem to be trying to do the same for anyone wishing to come to the UK legally, even visiting performers who are only here for a few days and then returning to their own country.

Dear British Government, this is not cool.

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