Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has lodged a motion in Parliament condemning UK Government restrictions which is preventing top musicians, actors, scholars and artists from around the world visiting Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Mr Gibson motion calls on the UK Government to reverse it's tough new controls on visas to non EU Citizens. The measures requires visiting artists to provide finger prints, digital photo, as well as other biometric detail. They also require an established sponsor willing to take full financial responsibility for them while in the country and to vouch for all their activities while on British soil.
As a result shows have already been cancelled and many others put in jeopardy.
Mr Gibson said….
"These new measures from the UK Border Agency is as tight as those for people on bail. It is a shocking way to treat people and hardly portrays Scotland or the rest of the UK as a welcoming place."
"It is ironic that in the Year of Homecoming the UK is doing its best to close Scotland's doors to those involved in arts and music. It assumes that those visiting are guilty of something."
"Celtic Connections, the Edinburgh Festivals and many other arts and music events attract people from all over the world to Scotland. Diverse and eclectic spices up festival programmes whilst adding to the civic and cultural life of Scotland. I am very worried that this is under threat from a paranoid Government which could do more damage to the country than good."
"I am supporting the petition which calls on the UK Government to change it's position and also will raise the matter with the Scottish Culture and External Affairs Minister Mike Russell.
Copy of motion:
S3M-03522 Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish National Party): Obstructing Global Artistic Expression — That the Parliament notes the petition campaign by leading figures in the arts world calling for a reversal to the new stringent visa controls that are preventing top foreign musicians, actors, scholars and artists from visiting Scotland and the wider United Kingdom; notes with concern the new UK Border Agency (UKBA) regulations requiring foreign artists not only to prove their identity with biometric data, fingerprint scans and digital photographs but also to show that they have an established sponsor willing to take full financial responsibility for them while in the country and to vouch for all their activities while on British soil; notes with concern the huge impact that this will have on both host organisations and visitors, which has already resulted in a number of cancelled shows, and finally believes that the UKBA should encourage and promote the entry of talented global musicians, actors, scholars and artists interested in contributing to Scottish and UK cultural, intellectual and civic life.
For more information on the campaign visit: http://www.manifestoclub.com/visitingartists