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Brexit and the arts: new hurdles and how to mitigate them

Brexit and the arts: new hurdles and how to mitigate them

Now that the Brexit trade deal has been agreed, coming into effect 1 January 2021, many sectors are adjusting to new ways of doing things. One of the sectors most affected by the new rules is the arts sector, with new restrictions on travelling to and from the EU for touring musicians, actors, and other performers coming as part of new restrictions on free movement.

While these new rules are yet to be fully tested and explored in practice due to restrictions on travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many musicians, actors, and other arts professionals are looking ahead to the second half of 2021 when restrictions are expected to be lifted and touring can resume. Here are some tips on what to expect when navigating this new system.

But first, some quick caveats: It is worth mentioning that due to previous treaties and special provisions in the new agreement that constitute the Common Travel Area, these restrictions do not apply to UK performers wishing to perform in Ireland or vice versa. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that any EU country will restrict a UK performer’s ability to play for free in their country under the usual visa-free Schengen travel arrangements usually extended to third-country nationals. This is 90 days of visa-free travel within a given 180 days. This is not made completely clear in the agreement, but it is highly unlikely.

Paid performances are a much more complicated matter. Since there was no EU-wide provision for this in the agreement, UK musicians must deal with different rules in every country they visit. Some require work permits for these kinds of cultural activities, some do not. As a result, performers must carefully plan their tours and establish what kinds of paperwork they require and red tape they must clear to enter each given country. While this may seem like a huge amount of work to undertake, it is necessary in order to ensure that performers can still perform and get work around Europe.

Getting paid is another hurdle. Should you manage to get paid work in the EU, you may be getting paid in different currencies depending on the country e.g. the Euro in the countries comprising the Eurozone (France, Germany, Spain, etc.), krone in Denmark, forint in Hungary, etc. If you’re planning to make the most of travel restrictions being lifted and extensively touring once the pandemic is over, it’s best to consider how you will organise your foreign exchange needs.

Countries that were once the most profitable for performing in may no longer retain that status depending on the restrictions in place for UK performers who go there. This could see a large shake-up in traditional European tours for some artists as countries with fewer barriers when it comes to paid performances are likely to be more favourable, particularly for up and coming talent who are still finding their feet.

While the pandemic has put somewhat of a pause on how artists will navigate this new landscape, what is for sure is that a greater amount of planning and budgeting before a European tour or overseas show is needed.

We can support you when sending or receiving international payments in multiple currencies and can ensure you are able to mitigate risk factors on fluctuations in exchange rates. In a new environment where it appears European tours will be more expensive for artists, ensuring you make the most of exchange rates and don’t get caught out is likely to be more important than ever.

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