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Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and More Sign Open Letter Urging the Government to Change Visa Rules For Artists

“Prime minister, we urge you to negotiate new terms with the EU, allowing creative practitioners to travel to the EU visa-free for work," the letter reads.

Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and More Sign Open Letter Urging the Government to Change Visa Rules For Artists

A group of stars are speaking out against new visa rules for British artists, actors, and theatre workers in an open letter, The Guardian reports.

The letter, signed by stars including Sir Ian McKellen, Julie Walters and Patrick Stewart, calls the new rules a "towering hurdle" that must be urgently addressed. The rules make it more difficult for creatives to work in Europe once pandemic restrictions lift.

"Before, we were able to travel to Europe visa-free. Now we have to pay hundreds of pounds, fill in form after form, and spend weeks waiting for approval - just so we can do our jobs," the letter says.

Pianist Joseph Middleton notes that a recital in Spain would now cost him £600 in visa-related bills, and he would also be required to provide recent certified bank statements and proof of income.

The letter says that the timing of these new rules could not be worse because the industry is "reeling from the closure of venues and the banning of live events as a result of the pandemic".

"Prime minister, we urge you to negotiate new terms with the EU, allowing creative practitioners to travel to the EU visa-free for work, and for our European counterparts to be able to do the same in the UK," the letter reads. "Not acting now will do further and irreparable harm to the UK's creative workforce, our industries and to our standing on the international cultural stage."

Read more on The Guardian.


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