Stricter visa requirements in Britain – in particular the provision of biometric data – are forcing international musicians, in particular those from Africa, to cancel gigs because they can’t be processed in time, according to an article in today’s Independent.
The big hurdle for many African artists is that, if they live in a territory that does not have a UK office that can issue visas, they must travel to another country in order to obtain them. Because there is no British consulate in Mali, each individual from a Malian band has to be flown to Senegal at their tour-bookers’ expense for fingerprinting. This is on top of flight costs, touring expenses and the cost of the visa application which has, until recently, was £200. Inevitably, strict guidelines apply so every musician in every band that wants to play in the UK must provide evidence for a work visa to prove they are in the band.