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Immigration white paper ‘hugely disappointing’ for creative sector, industry warns

Those seeking citizenship in the UK are required to fill in an 85-page document. Photo: Shutterstock Photo: Shutterstock
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The government has been accused of ignoring the pressures that its post-Brexit immigration plans will have on the creative sector, as industry bodies come out to criticise its “hugely disappointing” white paper.

The Creative Industries Federation has argued that the much-delayed document “focuses on curbing immigration rather than on making it possible for businesses and our economy to succeed”, while the Incorporated Society of Musicians has advocated abandoning key proposals within in.

The white paper was published on December 19 and sets out proposed new laws on immigration, which would take effect once the UK has left the European Union.

It includes a consultation on previously mooted plans to introduce a minimum salary threshold of £30,000 for high-skilled EU migrants seeking five-year visas, which have already been widely condemned by theatre and performing arts figures.

Alan Bishop, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said of the new plans: “Proposals to maintain the salary threshold, as well as the failure to include any measures to address the challenges faced by freelances, are hugely disappointing. It demonstrates government’s blindness to the major strains that Brexit and the current immigration system will have on organisations’ ability to recruit the talent they need.”

Considerable changes would be required to ensure the continued success of the creative industries post-Brexit, Bishop said, arguing that any agreement with the EU must go “much further to ease the movement of talent”.

Meanwhile, the ISM’s chief executive Deborah Annetts said the plans were categorically not compatible with the music profession, and that the ISM would be using the forthcoming consultation period to urge that they are dropped.

The ISM has long argued that ending free movement would have a “devastating impact on British musicians”, and also called for the retention of existing rights or the establishment of a two-year multi-entry touring visa for musicians.

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