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.

About Jacey Bedford

Jacey Bedford maintains this blog. She is a writer of science fiction and fantasy (www.jaceybedford.co.uk), the secretary of Milford SF Writers (www.milfordSF.co.uk), a singer (www.artisan-harmony.com) and a music agent booking UK tours and concerts for folk performers (www.jacey-bedford.com). She's also a Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration department licensed sponsor processing UK work permits (Certificates of Sponsorship).
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