Directors of some of Britain’s biggest festivals have signed a letter calling for the government to make its “overly complex” visa application process more transparent, after a surge in refusals and complications for authors, artists and musicians invited to perform in the UK.
Signatories of the letter, published in the Guardian, include Nick Barley, the director of Edinburgh international book festival, and Chris Smith, the director of Womad. Both recently went public with their festivals’ attempts to get visas for authors and musicians, reporting multiple refusals and unexplained delays, specifically for applicants from Middle Eastern and African countries.
“The overly complex process leads to mistakes being made by both applicants and by assessors, and refusals being made for visas that could theoretically be granted. The situation has led to artists now telling festivals they are much more reluctant to accept invitations to come to the UK due to the visa process, despite the assistance we receive from bodies such as the British Council and UK embassies across the world.”